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21 CHAPTER FOUR SIGNIFICANT FIRE INCIDENTS IN ROAD TUNNELS--LITERATURE REVIEW Fires occur in tunnels far less frequently than in buildings. Fires developed much more quickly than expected. However, because of the unique nature of a tunnel fire, they Fire temperatures of in excess of 1000C (1832F) have are more difficult to suppress and extinguish, and usually get been achieved. more attention. Smoke volumes were higher than expected from an early stage of the fire growth. In theory, the frequency of tunnel fires is related to vari- Fire spread between vehicles occurred over a much ables such as tunnel length, traffic density, speed control, and greater distance than previously expected (e.g., more slope of the road. Each variable has to be accounted for when than 200 m or 656 ft in the Mont Blanc Tunnel). comparing different tunnels. During fires road tunnel users behaved unexpectedly, such as: Urban tunnels tend to have a higher fire rate than other Did not realize the danger to which they were exposed. tunnels; Failed to use the safety infrastructure provided for In many tunnels no fire has occurred; and self-rescue. An event frequency span of about one fire per month to Incorrectly believed that they were safer in their cars one fire per year per tunnel applies only to tunnels that than if they used the self-rescue safety systems. are either very long, have a significant amount of traffic, Chose to stay in their vehicles during the early stages of or both. A large majority of tunnels report far fewer fires. a fire because they did not want to leave their property. Realized too late the danger they had placed them- Table 3 lists many major tunnel fires, most of which resulted selves in, by which time it was too late to execute in injuries, loss of life, and structural damage. Although the self-rescue. possibility of a significant fire incident in road tunnels is low, it can still happen. This table compiled information from CAUSE OF VEHICULAR FIRES IN ROAD TUNNELS numerous literature sources and provides a year of fire event, tunnel location, tunnel length, duration of fire when Collisions and other vehicle accidents are not the most frequent information was available, and fire consequences in terms cause of tunnel fires, although most large fires are caused by of deaths or injuries and damages to the structure and other accidents. The original cause of collisions and other traffic property. Some major fire events are also described in web- accidents is often driver in-attention. only Appendix G. NTSB analysis, in conjunction with that from international It was reported that the probability of significant fires from studies, of the cause of bus fires show that the primary causes HGVs is greater than from passenger cars. When HGVs are of such fires are: involved in fires, there is a higher risk of the fire developing into a much larger, more serious fire. Engine fires, which account for approximately two-thirds of bus fires. Engine fires can be the result of damaged The duration of recorded serious fires in road tunnels fuel lines, oil lines, or an overheated heating, ventilation, range from 20 min to 4 days. Most of the serious fires are in and air conditioning system. the range of 2 to 3 h. However, four fires in road tunnels were Electrical short circuits followed by a cable fire (the most particularly serious. frequent cause for light-weight vehicle fires). Electrical fire or cable insulation was the item first ignited in 29% Nihonzaka, Japan, collision, duration 4 days (1979). of U.S. bus fires. Mont Blanc, France/Italy, self-ignition of an HGV, Of the bus and school bus fires, 27% began with flam- duration 53 h (1999) (see Figure 3). mable or combustible liquids or gases, piping, or filters. Tauern, Austria, collision, duration 15 h (1999). Underseat heaters catching fire. Gotthard, Switzerland, collision, duration 20 h (2001). Braking systems that can overheat (according to French statistics in 60% to 70% of fire events involving trucks). From an analysis of the catastrophic tunnel fire events the Collisions. following conclusions were derived: Other defects leading to the self-ignition of a vehicle.

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22 TABLE 3 LIST OF ROAD TUNNEL FIRES Tunnel Damage Length, Fire Year Tunnel Country m (ft) Duration People Vehicles Structure 1949 Holland United States 2550 4h 66 injured 10 trucks, Serious (8,365) 13 cars 1965 Blue United States 1300 -- -- 1 truck -- Mountain (4,265) 1967 Suzaka Japan 244 11 h 2 injured 12 trucks -- (800) 1968 Moorfleet Germany 243 1h -- 1 truck Serious (800) 1970 Wallace United States 1000 -- -- -- Slight (3,280) 1974 Mont Blanc France/ 11 600 15 min 1 injured -- -- Italy (38,000) 1974 Chesapeake United States 2440 4h 1 injured 1 truck -- Bay Bridge (8,000) 1976 Crossing BP France 430 1h 12 injured 1 truck Serious (1,410) 1978 Velsen Netherlands 770 1 h 20 min 5 dead 4 trucks, Serious (2,530) 5 injured 2 cars 1979 Nihonzaka Japan 2045 159 h 7 dead 127 trucks, Serious (6,700) 2 injured 46 cars 1980 Kajiwara Japan 740 1.5 h 1 dead 2 trucks Serious (2,427) 1982 Caldecott United States 1028 2 h 40 min 7 dead 3 trucks, Serious (3,372) 2 injured 1 bus, 4 cars 1982 Lafontaine Canada 1390 1 dead 1 truck Limited (4,565) 1983 Pecorila Italy 662 -- 9 dead 10 cars Limited Galleria (2,170) 22 injured 1986 L'Arme France 1105 -- 3 dead 1 truck, Limited (3,625) 5 injured 4 cars 1987 Gumefens Switzerland 343 2h 2 dead 2 trucks, Slight (1,125) 1 van 1989 Brenner Austria 412 2 dead (1,350) 5 injured 1990 Rldal Norway 4656 50 min 1 injured -- Limited (15,270) 1990 Mont Blanc France/ 11 600 -- 2 injured 1 truck Limited Italy (38,000) 1993 Serra Ripoli Italy 442 2 h 30 min 4 dead 5 trucks Limited (1,450) 4 injured 11 cars 1993 Hovden Norway 1290 1h 5 injured 1 motor Limited (4,230) cycle, 2 cars 1994 Huguenot South Africa 3914 1h 1 dead 1 bus Serious (12,840) 28 injured 1995 Pfander Austria 6719 1h 3 dead 1 truck, Serious (22,040) 4 injured 1 van, 1 car 1996 Isola delle Italy 148 -- 5 dead 1 tanker, Serious Femmine (485) 20 injured 1 bus, 18 cars 1999 Mont Blanc France/ 11 600 2.2 days 39 dead 23 trucks, Serious Italy (38,000) 10 cars, 1 (closed for motorcycle, 3 years) 2 fire engines 1999 Tauern Austria 6401 15 h 12 dead 14 trucks, Serious (21,000) 49 injured 26 cars (closed for 3 months) 2000 Seljestad Norway 1272 45 min 6 injured 1 truck, -- (4,173) 4 cars, 1 MC (continued on next page)

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23 TABLE 3 (continued) Tunnel Damage Length, Fire Year Tunnel Country m (ft) Duration People Vehicles Structure 2001 Prapontin Italy 4409 -- 19 injured 1 truck Serious (14,463) 2001 Gleinalm Austria 8320 -- 5 dead -- -- (27,293) 4 injured 2001 Ville Marie Canada 8400 Tunnel (27,560) 2001 Guldborg- Denmark 460 -- 5 dead sund (1,509) 6 injured 2001 St. Gottard Switzerland 16 900 Over 2 11 dead 2 trucks, Serious (55,450) days 23 vehicles 2002 Tauern Austria 6401 -- 1 dead -- -- (21,000) 2002 A86 France 618 6 hr 2 dead 1 car, 1 -- (2,028) motorcycle 2002 Ted United States 2600 1 bus -- Williams (8,530) 2002 Homer New Zealand -- 3 injured 1 bus -- 2003 Locica Slovenia 800 1 truck, -- (2,625) 1 car 2003 Flyfjell Norway 3100 ~10 min 1 dead 1 car Limited (10,171) 2003 Golovec Slovenia 700 -- -- 1 bus (2,297) 2003 Baregg Switzerland 1390 -- 2 dead 4 trucks, Serious (4,560) 21 3 fire injured engines 2004 Baregg Switzerland 1080 -- 1 dead , 1 1 truck, Serious (3,543) Injured 1 car 2004 Dullin France 1500 -- -- 1 bus (4,921) 2004 Kinkem- Belgium 600 -- -- 1 truck Slight pois (1,969) 2004 Frejus France/ 12 900 -- -- 1 truck -- Italy (42,323) 2005 Frejus France/ 12 900 6h 2 dead; 4 HGV, 3 Serious Italy (42,323) Diesel 21 treated fire fighting damage, leakage for smoke vehicles tunnel in HGV inhalation 1. load: Tires closed loaded 2. load with tires cheese 3. load: scrap 4. load: glue 2006 Viamala Switzerland 760 9 dead 1 bus, (2,493) 6 injured 2 cars 2006 Crap-Teig Switzerland 2171 1 HGV with Limited (7,122) wooden structural, pallets electrical damage 2007 Burnley Australia 2900 3 dead 4 HGVs, Slight (9,514) 7 cars 2007 Caldecott United States, 1028 1 car Canada (3,372) 2007 Santa Clarita United States, 165 3 dead 33 tractor/ I-5 [25] Canada (544) 23 injured semi-trailer; 1 car 2007 San Martino Italy >45 min 2 dead; 10 1 HGV injured 2009 Eiksund Norway 7700 5 dead 1 HGV, (25,262) 1 car 2009 Gubrist Switzerland 4 injured 2 cars 2010 Trojane Slovenia 885 5 injured 1 HGV (2,900) 2010 Wuxi Lihu China 24 dead, 1 shuttle bus 19 injured Collected from numerous sources: ASHRAE Handbook (22).