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Truck fires on the rise, faulty filters may be to blame


It seems everything in California is liable to erupt into flames these days. Wild fires and the collateral damage they cause have been grabbing headlines amongst a record drought, but it turns out that nature isn’t the only thing causing massive and dangerous conflagrations; some truck parts seem to be causing fires of their own.

According to the Alliance for California Business, an influential non-profit in Southern California, a particular type of filter used in diesel engines is causing them to erupt into flames. They claim these faulty filters are at least partially responsible for at least 31 truck fires over the last year and a half, and have caused all sorts of additional problems for truckers and mass transit operators alike. One afternoon in July, at least four separate trucks burst into flames, allegedly due to the same filter. The evidence seemed fairly obvious to the Hollister fire chief, who said that pieces of the defective filter had been found along the road at the scene of each blaze.

Obviously, a truck fire can create a serious danger, not only to property but for the driver as well as any other people on the road. Some have likened these trucks to ticking time bombs. Burn injuries caused by severe heat can cause painful and debilitating injuries, not to mention permanent scarring and disfigurement.

While these filters have not yet been linked directly to any deaths, advocates say the laws must change before further tragedies and mishaps ensue. But the law, which has been in place since 2008 and is motivated in part due to environmental concerns, may not be going anywhere soon. It will be interesting to watch this developing story, but hopefully nobody pays the price and suffers a serious burn injury before proper precautions are put into place.

Source: TBJ Now “Group blames ‘dangerous’ diesel filters for truck fires,” George Lurie, July 24, 2015