This New Year’s Eve saw some extreme winter weather in Illinois, including significant snowfall the continued throughout New Year’s Day. As a result, the roads, especially interstates, consisted of very treacherous driving conditions, which posed a strong likelihood for motor vehicle collisions.
ABC 7 reported that on New Year’s Eve, three semi-trucks collided on Interstate 65. Upon collision, two of the semis caught on fire. The collision and resulting fire left two victims with personal injuries. Then, an hour and a half after the collision, while firefighters and emergency responders were still attending to the scene and clearing away debris, one of the semis burst into flames. The police did not know the precise cause of the crash and needed to delve into further investigation.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 vehicle fires per year nationally from 2006-2010. Vehicle fires caused an average of 209 deaths and 764 injuries. This is an average of 17 vehicle fires per hour, which killed an average of four people per week.
Accidents that result in fires can be even more dangerous than a typical collision. Victims of the accident and emergency responders are exposed to more dangers than the already existing road conditions, the initial collision’s dangers, and debris. Fire can be a cause of grave injuries, such as severe burns. The fire itself can be hard to contain as well once it ignites and can spread to the surrounding landscape and other motor vehicles involved in the collisions, since most vehicles run on fuel, which is extremely flammable. Because gas and oil are combustible fuels, vehicle fires are incredibly dangerous.
The National Safety Council offers advice on vehicle fire safety. If you find yourself in or near a vehicle that is on fire, make sure to keep yourself as safe as possible. If you are driving a vehicle and notice smoke, pull over to the side of the road, and get yourself and other passengers out of the vehicle as quickly and safely as possible. Then, call 911 to report your emergency and get away from the vehicle. Also, due to the high flammability of fuel in your car, do not try to put out the fire yourself. The fuels in your car are prone to explosion when lit on fire. Professional emergency responders are the only ones who should tend to this fire, as they have the training and experience to control such fires. Furthermore, any inhalation of these fumes can be extremely hazardous, and can even cause death.
If you have been a victim of a collision and vehicle fire caused by the negligence of another driver, our accident attorneys understand the financial and emotional hardship that your personal injuries have caused. Our firm has been providing legal aid to victims of motor vehicle crashes since 1992. Call us for a free consultation, and we can determine from this experience what the best course of legal action is for you. Our attorneys can discuss your case with you and options available, as well as work with other parties involved to make sure all needs are handled and justice is served.