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Old 9th November 2008, 11:16   #1
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Exclamation Three burnt alive as CNG car catches fire in Delhi

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NEW DELHI: In an accident that may worry hundreds of Delhiites who convert their cars to CNG, three men were burnt alive when their Wagon R
caught fire after being hit by a speeding truck at Kapasheda early on Saturday.

Devkaran Singh (49), Pawan (38) and Jeetendra (36) were on their way back from a family celebration at Najafgrah when the accident happened. Police say the car engine short-circuited after the head-on collision. The vehicle was in flames within seconds. The upholstery was inflammable as well.

Delhi has roughly 1.25 lakh private vehicles running on CNG and there is a 250% increase year on year. According to official figures about 4,000 cars are converted to CNG every month but there are no checks to prevent the sale of unauthorised CNG kits.

Saturday's accident happened near Palam Vihar on Brijwasan Road, opposite Oberoi Farm. Eyewitnesses say the truck was hurtling towards Najafgarh and its headlights were on full beam. The single-lane road did not have a divider and the victims' car, which was heading in the opposite direction, collided with the truck while trying to overtake another vehicle. The car was on fire within 10 seconds. A motorbike, right behind the car, was also hit, injuring its two riders.

"The car swerved several times and was thrown in the air due to the impact of the collision. It hit a bike coming right behind them and the two persons on it, Sunny Pal (24) from Bhondsi and Parminder Raghav (23) from Palwal suffered injuries. They were taken to Safdarjung hospital and Parminder fractured his arm and Sunny received severe injuries on his face," said the official.

The impact was such that the car immediately caught fire within 10 seconds and all the people inside were charred. Its front rear tyre was completely smashed and the petrol pipe broke in addition to the bumper falling off," said a police official from Kapasheda police station. The truck also suffered major damage. He added that the lighting in the area was sufficient hence, indicating that it was only high speed at the truck driver's side which led to this accident. The truck was reportedly carrying some construction material and was almost empty.

A bike which was behind the victims' car was also hit. "The car swerved several times and was thrown in the air due to the impact of the collision. It hit a bike coming right behind them and the two persons on it, Sunny Pal (24) from Bhondsi and Parminder Raghav (23) from Palwal suffered injuries. They were taken to Safdarjung hospital and Parminder fractured his arm and Sunny received severe injuries on his face," said the official.

Reportedly, Devkaran, from Rajoukri in Haryana, had retired from army a few years ago while Jeetendra and Pawan had retired from Navy and hail from Rewari and Mahendragarh. They were returning from Devkaran's niece's pre-wedding function around 1 am when the accident happened.

According to cops, the bodies were so badly charred along with the car that initially, they thought that there were only two bodies. "We are now sending the burnt remains of the car for a mechanical test. The driver of the truck absconded when the car caught fire and a crowd started gathering. A hunt for him is on," said DCP (south west) Shalini Singh.

A case under section 304 of IPC for causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the driver of the truck. A post mortem on the bodies of the three victims would be conducted on Sunday.
More links:
3 burnt alive as CNG car short-circuits after crash-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India
Three retired navy personnel killed in Delhi car accident-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India
Illegal CNG kit behind many mishaps-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India
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Old 9th November 2008, 11:40   #2
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I saw this in India TV news channel yesterday.
Then came in an expert i.e. an automotive expert who blamed this on modern technology. The car he was with was Chevrolet SRV.
He reviewed it this way.
Mostly he was Tutu Dhavan.

Quote:
His review:

1) The fuel injection system:
In modern cars the MPFi systems make fuel available in the engine bay at around 40-60 pounds through fuel line ( He pointed out to the fuel line ). Now in the event of crash, if at all the fuel line ruptures or breaks, then obviously the fuel leaks out and even if there are sensors to stop the fuel supply after a crash is detected, due to pressure in fuel system, some fuel does spill out.
This is the main reason why ( as per his opinion ) the cars catch fire.


2) Extensive use of plastic in cars.
He also told that there are a lot of plastic objects in engine bay. So the fire will spread very quickly here. And then its hard to control the fire as the speed at which it spreads is very high and even if you are carrying a fire extinguisher with you, it wont help much.
I was satisfied with the fuel supply line part, but not in case of use of plastic. Suppose the fuel line ruptures and petrol is spilled over metallic components, then also they will very easily catch fire.

FIAT Siena was shown with feature " Fire prevention system ". I read in detail about it and came to know that " Fire Prevention System " in case of a crash will stop the fuel supply will be stopped to reduce changes of fire. So his logic in point 1 can be valid.

I think the manufacturers try their best to make the fuel line as safe as possible.
Moreover, we dont know if any electrical accessory was fitted in a poor quality fashion. This can also create fire.


About the part of CNG. I dont understand why this comes into play. CNG vehicles are not unsafe by any stretch of imagination, unless there is leakage from the fuel line in engine bay or the cylinder is of poor quality or some valve has become lose. Using CNG cannot make a car catch fire after it crashes. Unauthorized CNG kits will add fuel to fire, but not the genuine ones. There is no reason for any CNG owner to panic. Also CNG diffuses into air so even if there is a rupture lets say below the body, then also there are less chances of fire. My dad's colleague has CNG fitted in Zen ( orginal Zen in Passion Yellow color ) and he noticed that CNG was consumed very quickly. Problem was traced to damage in fuel line and CNG was leaking out, but no untoward incident happened. Yes its dangerous, very dangerous, but just adding CNG wont burn the car.
There is an unnecessary fear being created towards using CNG.
People forget that petrol rather explodes.

We have CNG in our Maruti 800 for quite some time now and there is no need to fear.
IMO, CNG doesnt play a role in helping the car catch fire in event of a crash. Using CNG in cars is safe if one makes sure the parts are genuine and not cheap kits.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 9th November 2008 at 11:43. Reason: Typing mistake.
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Old 9th November 2008, 12:00   #3
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3 lives lost again on the road!! its getting scarier and scarier by the day. Why I feel more sad is because of the apathy shown in accidents by the bystanders (in most cases). I know the poor guys in the car must be under shock to react to the fire, but couldnt anyone else around do something to save the lives of these guys?? isnt 10 seconds enough time to pull 3 people out of a car?? Maybe!!

My heartfelt sypmathies to all the 3 ex-servicemen's families!! May their soul R.I.P.
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Old 9th November 2008, 12:06   #4
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10 seconds wont be even enough for an average person to come over the shock of seeing an accident, let alone rush to the accident spot and try to pull out the 3 passengers.

This is a very unfortunate accident. My sympathies to the families of the victims.
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Old 9th November 2008, 12:54   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deky View Post
Why I feel more sad is because of the apathy shown in accidents by the bystanders (in most cases). I know the poor guys in the car must be under shock to react to the fire, but couldnt anyone else around do something to save the lives of these guys?? isnt 10 seconds enough time to pull 3 people out of a car?? Maybe!!
In this incident the car was involved in a crash first. Also in the first post by thread started, its stated that
Quote:
The car swerved several times and was thrown in the air due to the impact of the collision. It hit a bike coming right behind them and the two persons on it, Sunny Pal (24) from Bhondsi and Parminder Raghav (23) from Palwal suffered injuries. They were taken to Safdarjung hospital and Parminder fractured his arm and Sunny received severe injuries on his face," said the official.

The impact was such that the car immediately caught fire within 10 seconds and all the people inside were charred. Its front rear tyre was completely smashed and the petrol pipe broke in addition to the bumper falling off
.

Now after such an impact from, there are chances that the car body was daamged, so the doors might not have opened smoothly and they may be jammed. So its impossible to achieve this feat. If we consider that they could have made it through windows, then also there might be some damage.
Dont forget that the passengers themselves could have injuries after an impact, so before they could analyze the situation, situation almost became fatal for them.
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Old 9th November 2008, 13:06   #6
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saw the accident on tv,,aaj tak i think, the car was totally destroyed,the front axel of the truck came off and got jammed into the rear axel. though what happen is tragic, i think its been made a big issue due to CNG/LPG conversion. Looking at the damage to the truck,it could happen to non converted vehicle.
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Old 9th November 2008, 18:44   #7
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THe CNG car caught fire Yes, but was in because of the CNG?

THe CNG tank is in the back and the head-on collision happened in the front. I could very well be because of the petrol spillage and metal to metal friction that ignites it.
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Old 9th November 2008, 19:03   #8
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This terrible accident certainly should make people think about the safety of CNG retrofits. I for one will never get a CNG kit after hearing about this incident. The reduction in running cost is just not worth taking a risk with your life.

Although the accident is a tragedy and the loss of life is extremely unfortunate, why is it automatically the fault of the truck? Why is a case of rash and negligent driving being regisitered against the truck driver? It was stated that the Maruti was overtaking at the time of the accident. Does this not put the Maruti driver at fault for overtaking in an unsafe manner? The other question is if the Maruti driver was under the influence of alchohol? They were returning from a marriage function, and there is of course a chance that alcohol was a factor.

The road where this happened is very near where I live and I can tell you that it is NOT a single lane at all. The road is very wide and can fit 2 lanes in each direction.

I just do not understand the logic here in India when it comes to traffic accidents. Somehow it is ALWAYS the fault of the bigger vehicle. What type of logic is that?
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Old 9th November 2008, 19:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
This terrible accident certainly should make people think about the safety of CNG retrofits. I for one will never get a CNG kit after hearing about this incident. The reduction in running cost is just not worth taking a risk with your life.

Are you sure that CNG caused the car to meet with an accident and then CNG caused this car to catch fire ?
Certainly not. In the MPFi cars, after the CNG kits are fitted there is some loss in power delivery, but the curve is almost parallel to petrol mode but just a bit lower, so here CNG has not resulted into sudden burst of power that led to loss of control, so again CNG is not to blame.
And reagarding CNG causing fire, well, in my first post in this thread, I have written about this issue.
What I dont like is that there is much hype " CNG vehicle " crashes and catches fire. This just causes more panic unnecessarily. Wrong image is being created for CNG as fuel. Just like diesels had an image of being underpowered and smoke emetting, CNG will one day have an image of being responsible for creating fires in automobiles, if the news continue to flow like this.
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Old 9th November 2008, 19:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Are you sure that CNG caused the car to meet with an accident and then CNG caused this car to catch fire ?
Certainly not. In the MPFi cars, after the CNG kits are fitted there is some loss in power delivery, but the curve is almost parallel to petrol mode but just a bit lower, so here CNG has not resulted into sudden burst of power that led to loss of control, so again CNG is not to blame.
And reagarding CNG causing fire, well, in my first post in this thread, I have written about this issue.
What I dont like is that there is much hype " CNG vehicle " crashes and catches fire. This just causes more panic unnecessarily. Wrong image is being created for CNG as fuel. Just like diesels had an image of being underpowered and smoke emetting, CNG will one day have an image of being responsible for creating fires in automobiles, if the news continue to flow like this.

No I am not sure that the CNG caused this fire.

But what I do not for a 100% fact is that a 20kg CNG cylinder strapped behind the rear seat, a few inches behind your head, does not make a car safer.

I will stick with a single factory designed petrol tank outside of the passenger compartment, mounted with body crumple zones around it to avoid puncture during a major accident. Most petrol cars also have fuel pump cutouts in case of roll overs.
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Old 9th November 2008, 20:46   #11
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If any vehicle runs on CNG alone it would be far safer than Petrol.

Damn it, all the DTC buses run on CNG .. if safety were such a big concern then a bus ferrying 50 passengers would never be allowed to be fitted with such a volatile fuel.

Surely this accident has been caused either due to Petrol or a poorly constructed CNG tank purchased on the cheap from the aftermarket.

people who resort to such cheap shortcuts to save a few bucks should think of the consequences their actions can lead to.
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Old 9th November 2008, 21:22   #12
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I don't think cng has any role in this accident. i heard the auto expert, tutu dhawan, even he said the fire probably started because of the immense friction generated by impact. With the high use of plastic, a fire is quite easy, plastic would definitely melt with the amount of heat.
Another important point to remember, specially for those who feel cng is unsafe, cng is lighter than air,so in case of a leak it just rises up and disperses into the atmosphere. Besides, a high auto-ignition temperature of 540 degrees centigrade as against petrolís 360 degrees centigrade, makes it a safe fuel. Also, in case of a leak, if CNGís concentration in the air is less than 5% and more than 15%, the gas will not burn even in the presence of a spark.

Dhawan says: "CNG, unlike LPG, does not ignite when it comes into contact with air. Moreover, petrol in almost all modern cars is stored under pressure, making it more inflammable."

so rest assured guys, if it makes you feel better i've had cng for more than 6 years now, in 4 different cars. enjoy your cheap fuel. cheers.
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Old 9th November 2008, 21:52   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedMM340 View Post
But what I do not for a 100% fact is that a 20kg CNG cylinder strapped behind the rear seat, a few inches behind your head, does not make a car safer.

I will stick with a single factory designed petrol tank outside of the passenger compartment, mounted with body crumple zones around it to avoid puncture during a major accident. Most petrol cars also have fuel pump cutouts in case of roll overs.
The physical cylinder with CNG capacity of 8kg weighs almost 90kg,i.e the cylinder without any fuel in it. So its more than that.
Yes, agree that petrol tank is better placed than the CNG cylinder, but again there is no need to worry. The fuel wont start at the fuel tank in case of head on collosion, but starts from fuel line mostly. And in case of major rollover, if the tank is punctured then the fuel cutoff will be of no use.
I dont know if wagon R is equipped with fuel cutoff, but what about the fuel in the fuel line ? If will surely get leaked and lead to fire.
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Old 9th November 2008, 22:23   #14
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Cant blame it entirely on the CNG kit, for any scientific comparison we'd need a control test. In this case the bus hitting the same model of car w/o a CNG kit the very same way.
No info on the installation and maintain'ce of the CNG kit either.
Also, every accident is different.
Given that so many car's & buses run on CNG in the capital, its not often that a CNG car catches fire, also wiring shorts cuts can also lead too a fire that can spread real fast.

Last edited by gendarmee : 9th November 2008 at 22:25.
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Old 9th November 2008, 23:45   #15
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Gaurav bhai,

You are unnecessarily worrying. Please realize that CNG cannot catch fire like that - its a lighter than air fuel which has superior dispersal/flammability characteristics than LPG and even to some extent petrol (as per my limited understanding).

Though yes, I will admit, that if due to whichever unfortunate cause (petrol line rupture or short circuit or ...), then ONCE the CNG system catches fire, it could cause quite a bit of damage, though even then, the cylinder almost never disintegrates/explodes. Its basically like a jerry can in the rear catching fire too. Nothing more/less.

Which gets me to fire extinguishers - donno if that small one we all have, could've helped as much!!
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