Safety Alert Number 1001316


The NYS OFPC Arson Bureau has recently investigated three fire incidents involving fires in large
commercial vehicles outfitted as snow plow trucks. The incidents involved various commercial vehicle
manufacturers spanning a date range from 2005-2008, all outfitted with snow plow and sander bodies, with
one incident resulting in fire damage to the vehicle and two incidents with fire extending to the Highway
Department garage complex. These fire incidents represent significant dollar loss to vital equipment in
addition to the catastrophic devastation to a municipality's infrastructure. Electrical Fires in Commercial Vehicles
"Snow Plow Trucks"
Common Fault - The cause of these recent fires appears related to the electrical systems of these large
commercial vehicles. Fire Investigation revealed electrical short circuiting as a result of worn electrical
cable insulation as shown in photo A. These failures appear to occur where large capacity
electrical cables interact or come in contact with
the chassis frame or short to ground. Additional
electrical equipment problems have been discovered
attributable to missing or improper fusing of installed
equipment. As a result of these devastating fires and others of a
similar nature during past winter seasons, the Office
of Fire Prevention & Control urges all agencies who
operate commercial snow plow vehicles to consider
the following fire prevention measures as part of your
agencies preventive maintenance program;

Prevention Measures -
Inspect battery cables and vehicle electrical distribution wiring for signs of wear, chaffing or contact
with the frame and secure as necessary to prevent abrasion as illustrated in photo B. Inspect the Fuse protection of the
electrical system to assure proper fusing
of circuits and secondary equipment. Fuse protection should include fail safe
protection from incidents of a main
electrical cable short or failure. Consult
the vehicle manufacturer as necessary
for guidance. Routinely maintain all electrical
connections to assure they remain tight
and free from corrosion. Follow all manufacture recommendations for the proper installation and operation of the vehicle
electrical system to include all aftermarket equipment requiring electrical connection to the vehicle
systems. Inspect fuel and hydraulic lines for signs of wear and repair and secure as necessary to prevent
abrasion. Protect your facility by ensuring the building complex is free of common fire hazards and that suitable
fire prevention measures are in place and working, to include an effective early fire detection alarm
system.