Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
A bulldozer fire occurred on January 7, 2002, at a surface mine
in District 8. The D11 Caterpillar bulldozer received extensive
damages to the cab, engine compartment, underlying hydraulic
hoses, and electrical apparatus.
While in idle the operator noticed smoke coming
out of the engine compartment at approximately 12:20 p.m. When
the operator exited the cab to investigate the source of the
smoke and extinguish the fire, flames came out from under the cab
and surrounded the area where he was standing. Due to the extent
of the fire, the operator was unable to activate the fire
suppression system or obtain a fire extinguisher. He jumped to
the ground and then summoned help. The local fire department was
called and the company's dry-chemical fire-suppression trailer
was brought to the scene.
During the fire,
the fire suppression's automatic actuator activated. The fire
suppression system was designed to protect both sides of the
machine, but the left side failed to operate.
Evidence indicated that an electrical short circuit in
the wiring harness beneath the floor of the cab caused the fire.
The resulting fire burned through nearby hydraulic hoses. The
damaged hydraulic hoses then provided additional fuel to the
- Frequently examine and properly maintain onboard electrical
apparatus of mine equipment.
- Fire suppression systems should be properly tested and
- Locate at least one fire suppression actuators where it can
be easily activated from ground level.
This information was provided by concerned
miners in an effort to eliminate accidents. Accident or "close
call" information within District 8 may be shared by contacting
the MSHA office at (812) 882-7617.