Thread: Fire Melts Semi

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    Default Fire Melts Semi

    Once again, from CNN.

    It's a good reminder to be careful at vehicle fires.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    We ran a tractor trailer fire on interstate 95 one day. We got there as a third arriving unit. The first in engine had already knocked most of the fire in the back where the cargo was. (A truck load of tomatoes as it urned out) Me and my OIC went in the back of the trailer to start "overhauling" we got to the back and found a small amount of fire still burning. My officer sent me out for a line to knock the fire. I was going to get a line and looked back, 20 second after I had gotten out of the trailor the fire was rolling out the whole opening. My officer was chased out of the trailer. He said as soon as the fire got to the siding it just took off.

    Be carfully at these tractor trailer fires, I had never seen that before and definitly learned from it!
    Last edited by LADDER2EKU; 11-14-2007 at 04:58 PM.
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    A good reminder to wear air packs on vehicle fires. You might not necessarily have to clip in, but you are prepared for something like this, none the less.
    Just know, I chose my own fate. I drove by the fork in the road and went straight.

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    Default Air packs at vehilcle fires

    Extremely good point Keepback. Plus theres a lot of toxic fume potential from a vehicle fire, so if a wind change swirls it back at you, it sure helps to at least have a mask and BA in ready position.


    Quote Originally Posted by KEEPBACK200FEET View Post
    A good reminder to wear air packs on vehicle fires. You might not necessarily have to clip in, but you are prepared for something like this, none the less.

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    Default Language Issues

    Once again the English language confuses me.... I was curious to see how a 'Semi' would melt... I live in a 'Semi' and as much as I could probably burn it down pretty comprehensively, I'd struggle to melt the bricks and mortar its made of. Imagine my surprise when I saw a Truck on fire....over here a 'Semi' is a Semi Detached House... a typical British suburban Home... I think you call them Duplex's?

    Secondly, I am amzed this made the TV News... no wonder the public love the Fire Service in the US, the media is very good at promoting everything you do. My story this week about the large warehouse fire only made the News because it was on the olympic site and was so smoky.

    That would only make the news over here if it involved a celebrity...i.e Madonna had her shopping trip delayed by a Truck on Fire in New Bond Street.
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    Semi is short for semi trailer, a trailer without a front axle. Maximum length is 53 feet (16M). The news media here will call any combination of trailer, semi trailer, or tractor a (shudder) "big rig". They never use the term little rig to describe a small truck.

    News coverage depends on the location. In a big city, a fire like this may get a mention on the evening news if it affected traffic and it was a slow news day. In a suburban or rural community, it will could be the story of the week.

    The city next to mine with a population of 100,000 has to have a fire that either kills or injures people to get front page newspaper coverage. The same paper will put a dumpster fire from a nearby rural community (6,000 pop.) on the front page.
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    You,sir,are laboring under the misconception that the reporter has the faintest idea of the story he/she is assigned to cover.Daniel V Gallery,the CO of the task group that captured a German U boat in WWII,was fond of saying that any reporter will believe any "fact" that you give them as long as you whisper it to them in the corner of a dark room.
    It makes it that much more plausible if you pretend to be concerned that others will learn who gave the story to them.
    And you're right about how big the news area affects how long it's on the news.A store I worked in got held up and that was the lead story for three nights even without my name being mentioned at all.I even spoke with the reporter that covered it at one fire where my new nickname"Drug" was being used liberally(I got it from being dragged by the crooks' getaway car)and she never cottoned to it despite me wearing my "day job" uniform shirt.
    [QUOTE=KenNFD1219;885973] They never use the term little rig to describe a small truck.

    News coverage depends on the location. In a big city, a fire like this may get a mention on the evening news if it affected traffic and it was a slow news day. In a suburban or rural community, it will could be the story of the week.

    QUOTE]

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDude View Post
    Secondly, I am amzed this made the TV News... no wonder the public love the Fire Service in the US, the media is very good at promoting everything you do. My story this week about the large warehouse fire only made the News because it was on the olympic site and was so smoky.
    The only reason this made the news where it did (it originally came from a local station in Wisconsin -- not CNN) was because they had good video. Had no one been there to take video of the burning truck, the news station would have never mentioned a word of the fire.

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    Actually Cozmosis, they would have. The stations around here are fairly good at covering local news.
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    200 gallons of Dr. Diesel's finest elixir, aluminum, fiberglass and plastic plus a source of ignition = big fire in a big rig!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PureAdrenalin View Post
    Actually Cozmosis, they would have. The stations around here are fairly good at covering local news.
    So Milwaukee's news reports on every vehicle fire in their viewing area? I find that hard to believe. In the case of this fire, it doesn't appear that anyone was hurt, it doesn't seem that the fire affected traffic... Without video, what would have been the story?

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    (A truck load of tomatoes as it urned out)


    Mmm Mmm, fire roasted tomatoes... That sounds good, now can we add some BBQ'd ribs and a pan of baked beans??
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    A few nights back, my wife and I were returning home on I 95 in PG County. Coming around a curve, she spotted a Semi on the slow shoulder with visible Fire under the Trailer. I was able to stop, and with my portable radio asked our dispatch to send the regular assignment. He did so, and while waiting for the first engine, I was able to get a sizeup. The driver stated he was carrying Food and Paper Products (Restaurant Supplies) and no hazmat. The Fire involved two tires on the front trailer axle, and continued to grow. Concerned that water supply would be a problem, I ordered another Engine, and had them respond to a neighborhood street next to the Interstate to set up a supply from a hydrant there. A Heavy Rescue was also requested, to assist with opening up and overhaul. This assignment handled the incident quickly, no damage to the Tractor, although damaged, the Trailer was salvageable. The cargo did not have any Fire damage, but the Health department makes the call on salvaging any food products. Just another night on 95.
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    My first instinct as a professional driver would be to seperate the tractor from the trailer. Truck fires are nasty demons when one begins to consider the amounts of fuel, and flammable materials. Most box vans have a wood-lined wall and floor. Figure in a burning tire and the heat produced, and you have molten metal. Cab fires are also something that I am afraid of. There is a myriad of 12volt appliances that can cause ignition of the carpeted interiors, plus the bedding and clothes that are carried in trucks with sleepers. If there is an engine fire, it can spread quickly to the rest of the tractor in seconds, especially when one considers the amounts of oil, and fuel tied in with hoses and filters, plus the fiberglass oil pans used by some engine manufacturers to go with all the lightweight plastics used to lower the weight of the tractor while improving areodynamics. Then there is the concern of a refridgerated trailer's fuel tank and cooling unit. I think of all these things while remembering going through Memphis and seeing a truck with an intermodal container going through traffic with TWO tires that were blown out on his middle drive axle. He had the road lit up with showers of sparks from the wheels grinding on asphalt. He didn't stop and kept going to his exit.
    I agree about the slow news day, and having a good video. If there is a good video, it will cause people to stop and watch the news. The hook is much like people slowing down to see an accident on the side of the road.

    On a side note, we were taught to be wary of the lug nuts on tractor trailers. It seems that a few tire fires have actually heated the stud/nut assembly enough to cause them to break free and become propelled with severe force. Anyone else witness this at a truck fire?
    Last edited by rhvfd1214; 11-16-2007 at 11:50 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    So Milwaukee's news reports on every vehicle fire in their viewing area? I find that hard to believe. In the case of this fire, it doesn't appear that anyone was hurt, it doesn't seem that the fire affected traffic... Without video, what would have been the story?
    Well of course they don't report on EVERY vehicle fire, that would just be crazy. But knowing where this was, and how small the city was where this took place, that's the fire of the month for them..and therefore, it becomes good news, even without the actual video, they probably would have still interviewed the driver after finding out about it.
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    There's towboats engaged in towing barges loaded with thousands of gallons of metobutylbadstuffs and the facewires are rigged with pelican hooks.
    The idea being if they can get the burning tow tied off,they can execute the "Get the Hell outta here"maneuver that much quicker by clouting the hook with a sledge,backing away and not have to worry about hanging the face wires up or getting people back on the boat.

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