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Investigation of machinery fires
The latest Victorian Association of Fire Investigators (VAFI) Training Day was held on Thursday 31 October 2013 at the CFA’s Training College – Longerenong Campus.
Approximately 30 CFA Fire Investigators from across the State attended this training day along with personnel from the Victoria Police Arson & Explosives Squad, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) and representatives from the Insurance Industry.
The theme for the training day was “Fires in the Agricultural Environment”.
Prior to the commencement of the training session a barbeque lunch was enjoyed by the participants and allowed for networking opportunities with other Fire Investigators from around the State.
The guest speakers presented a range of topics relating to the investigation of fires involving harvesters, tractors, balers, trucks, trailers, boom sprayers and timber harvesters.
A number of case studies were also presented during the sessions to illustrate the origin and cause determination process involved in farm machinery fires.
Some of the common causes of the fires involving farm machinery that were outlined included:
- Engine failures
- Blown fuel lines
- Hydraulic hose line failures
- Bearing failures
- Brake drum failures
- Mechanical failures
- Chaffing of electrical components
- Build-up of vegetation and other foreign materials onto exhaust manifolds
- Ingestion of foreign materials such as rocks, wires, metal into the machinery
- Dragging brakes
- Puncturing of tyres
- Static electricity
- Lack of maintenance of the equipment and machinery.
To assist with the theoretical component of the training day a number of pieces of farm machinery, ranging from a harvester to tractors and other pieces of equipment, were on display. This allowed the Fire Investigators to view and examine the mechanical components of each piece of machinery.
Overall the training day was well received by the personnel who attended and provided an opportunity to obtain further information relating to the common causes of fires involving farm machinery.
State Fire Investigation Coordinator Nicole Harvey