Interstate 55 was closed for eight hours last Tuesday after a semi truck accident resulted in a massive vehicle fire. CBS Chicago reported that the crash took place near southwest suburban Channahon last Tuesday around 6:20am. Police say a 66-year old Freightliner semi truck driver was approaching a construction zone in the southbound lanes of the interstate when he failed to stop and crashed into the back of a second semi truck, driven by a 48-year old Joliet man. This semi was then pushed into the passenger vehicle in front of it.
Soon after the accident, the Freightliner caught fire due to its load consisting of paper products, according to authorities. The drivers involved were thankfully able to make it out of their vehicles before the fire had begun. Witnesses were shocked to travel past the huge clouds of black smoke and flames that consumed the semi truck. Crews from the Channahon Fire Department rushed to the scene and put out the fire by 8:15am, although a district sergeant told reporters that the truck was still burning hours later. The driver of the Freightliner was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.
From the perspective of our personal injury lawyers, although no injuries were reported in this accident, there are many ways it could have been much more severe. The consequences of any type of road accident often bring harm or suffering to those involved, including injury, medical bills, property damage, or the loss of a loved one. Vehicle fires, a common result of car and trucking accidents, are known to increase the risk of these expenses. We would like to take this opportunity to present some fire safety rules that all drivers should be aware of in the case that you experience a fire in your vehicle.
After a collision or roadway accident, vehicle fires commonly start in the engine compartment or under the dashboard. They can start when a vehicle is left alone in a tall, grassy area, the vehicle’s engine is still hot, or if flammable material is present in the vehicle. In the above accident, the semi truck caught on fire because it was carrying paper products. Preventing vehicle fires first requires your vehicle to be properly maintained. This includes checking the fuel lines and gas tank, being sure that all vehicle parts are properly installed, assessing electronics on a regular basis, and maintaining the vehicle’s battery. Problems with vehicle maintenance can raise the risk of a fire starting. Keeping your vehicle clutter-free and ridding of any garbage or debris inside can also help to prevent a fire from worsening if one starts. Never transport flammables or combustible liquids in the same part of the vehicle in which people ride.
Though some drivers invest in fire safety devices and resources that can be kept in a vehicle to minimize fires, many others tend to underestimate the strength of a vehicle fire. Not only are the drivers or passengers in the vehicle in danger, but surrounding cars, trucks, pedestrians, or buildings are also at risk. If your vehicle catches on fire while it is still in motion, move to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Get out of the vehicle immediately and move as far away from it as possible, while keeping yourself a safe distance away from oncoming traffic. Notify emergency services and wait for them to put out the fire; never try to put out the fire yourself, as most drivers who attempt to rid of the fire sustain more injuries than they did from the original accident.
U.S fire departments respond to 287,000 vehicle fires on average every year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Limiting negligence and reckless driving will help to protect all motorists from roadway accidents and therefore, vehicle fires. If you or someone you know has been injured an accident caused by a negligent driver, our lawyers are here to help you receive compensation.