Report: NFPA's "Industrial Loaders and Forklift Fires"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: January 2009
An overview of fires involving industrial loaders and forklifts. The report looks at these types of fires by, area of origin, item first ignited, type of occupancy and factor contributing to ignition. Includes published incident descriptions.
Industrial loaders, forklifts, and related material-handling vehicles are used in a wide variety of settings, including construction sites, industrial yards, manufacturing, and storage properties. Because these vehicles carry materials to and from storage, a fire involving such a vehicle can also be spread along the same path. Even properly operating material handling equipment can be a heat source if flammable liquids or gases leaked or spilled.
During 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 1,340 structure and vehicle fires in which industrial loaders, forklifts, or related material-handling vehicles were directly involved in ignition per year. This typically means the vehicle was the heat source for the fire. These fires caused an estimated average of 22 civilian injuries, and $36.0 million in direct property damage per year. No deaths were reported in these incidents. The 1,340 fires include 1,220 (91%) that were coded as vehicle fires. These fires caused an average of 10 civilian injuries and $24.5 million in direct property damage per year. The 120 structure fires (9%) caused an average of 12 civilian injuries and $11.5 million in direct property damage per year.