It’s not a typo: About 200,000 fires and 400 burning deaths per year in the USA.
Those are the numbers… but the numbers mean little compared to some actual case histories.
A CASE STUDY OF 214 FATAL CRASHES INVOLVING FIRE
Carl L. Ragland
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Research and Special Programs Administration
Paper Number 9X-S4-O-08
Two hundred and ninety three (293) fatalities
occurred in these crashes. Sixty-five (65) of these fatalities
resulted from fire.
CASE NO. 148 Single-car crash occurred on an interstate
highway. The vehicle, a 1990 Volvo 740, ran off the
roadway on a left curve when the driver fell asleep at the
wheel. The vehicle struck a guard rail with the left front,
went down an embankment and struck a tree with its driver
side. A fire started under the front of the car quickly spread
to the entire vehicle. The driver was able to crawl out of
the vehicle and pull the right front seat passenger from the
burning car. The two rear seat passengers, a 7-year old boy
and a 3-year old girl, died of fire bums in the vehicle,
according to PAR. No medical examiner’s report was
CASE NO. 102 Two-car frontal collision occurred on an
intersection of a city road. Vehicle #l, a 1991 Volkswagen
Caravelle van, was struck on the left front by vehicle #2, a
1989 Plymouth Sundance, which was speeding and ran the
red light. The lone driver of vehicle #l, a 21-year old
female, died of over 80% charring bums, according to
medical examiner’s report. Test showed the victim has
soot in her trachea by a vertical incision. No autopsy was
performed. The lone driver of vehicle #2 was seriously
CASE NO. 183 Single-car crash occurred on a state
highway. The vehicle, a 1984 Lincoln Town Car, struck a
large metal object on the roadway and caught fire due to
severed fuel lines. The two rear seat passengers, a 35-year
old female and a one-year old girl, died of fire bums at the
scene. Autopsies were performed on both occupants to
confirm cause of death from fire. Another rear seat
passenger, a 5-year old boy, died of asphyxia and third
degree bums at a bums institute the following day (no
autopsy). The front center seat passenger and the rear
center seat passenger suffered serious injuries. The driver,
the right front seat passenger, and the right rear seat
passenger suffered no injury in the crash.
CASE NO. 19 Single-car crash occurred on an interstate
highway. The vehicle, a 1989 Mitsubishi, traveling at a
high rate of speed went out of control during a passing
maneuver when approaching a bridge. It struck the
centerline dividing concrete barrier, hit the guardrail on the
right, then climbed up the superstructure of the bridge.
After striking the cross beam of the bridge, the vehicle fell
back onto the bridge surface on its top and caught fire.
Three rear seat passengers, all females ranging in age from
17 to 22, died of “body burns”, according to medical
examiner’s report. Autopsies were performed on these
three passengers. The male driver was able to climb out of
the vehicle and moved around. The right front seat male
passenger who was pulled out of the vehicle suffered
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