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Ruling out tunnel fires


The tragic tunnel fire in Switzerland ( N C E last week) highlighted the potential for accidents in a road tunnel to cause a horrendous fire which cannot be brought under control until it is too late to save life and property.

Emergency forces such as the fire brigade were unable to reach the fire to put it out. Why does this situation occur in a tunnel?

It seems the fire was allowed to rage because there was no in-built system to extinguish it or at least limit its development. The fire raged such an extent that it destroyed the tunnel fabric.

Present fire strategy for tunnels recognises the prime requirement of saving lives by getting rid of the smoke.

However, this does not appear to tackle the control of the fire as in buildings, where sprinkler systems automatically detect and control a fire.

When are engineers who develop the strategy for dealing with a fire in a tunnel going to incorporate such a system?

Neil McCallum (M), Haulfryn, 3 Hayden Close, Old Colwyn, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL29 9PB

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