A carrier is suing Volvo after one of its new natural gas trucks caught fire during normal operation and exploded destroying the tractor, trailer, and cargo.
Kane Is Able, Inc., a national carrier, bought seven CNG Volvo trucks last year. About three months later on January 2nd, one of the trucks with about 3,000 miles on it in perfect working condition caught fire and then exploded.
According to the lawsuit brought by Kane, the fire “was caused by intense heat emanating from the exhaust system of the tractor which ignited paint, fiberglass and/or other combustibles in the vicinity of the exhaust system.” Once the fire started, it quickly engulfed the cab, the trailer, and the cargo. Luckily no one was hurt in the incident.
Along with Volvo, Kane also named in the suit Cummins Westport, the engine manufacturer, and Agility Fuel Systems, who installed the CNG tanks and fuel delivery systems.
None of the three companies has been willing to take responsibility for the incident, but Kane alleges that all three companies were aware of the issue of excessive heat coming from the exhaust because of a recall issued a year earlier for similar systems produced by Cummins.
After the incident, Volvo paid to have the destroyed trailer towed and has been paying the rental costs to replace not only the destroyed truck, but also the 6 other CNG units that Kane has stopped using as a result of the accident. According to Kane and their insurance provider however, Volvo, Cummins, and Agility should be responsible for the total cost of the tractor, trailer, and cargo that was lost. Kane is additionally seeking to recoup the money that they spent on the other 6 CNG units as well.
Kane is also alleging that Cummins Westport mechanics conducted tests on all seven CNG units, but that during the tests, they may have been covering their tracks. According to the lawsuit, the mechanics “tested and/or altered sensors in the exhaust system of the remaining CNG units.”
The carrier claims that Cummins acted at the request of Volvo and Agility and that “[The] defendants intentionally modified, altered and/or recalibrated the sensors in an effort to conceal problems with those units” in order to avoid a new recall.
You can see the video that a bystander took of the fire and subsequent explosion (at 0:40) below.
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Image Source: Volvo