Why Is It Called A Tunnel Fire?

Tunnel fire is an infrequent yet dangerous risk that affects hundreds of transportation vehicles each year. From car tires to train compartments, the origin of the fire is usually traced back to a strong air draft in a confined space, such as a tunnel, leading to an intense buildup of smoke and heat. The good news is that the number of people affected by tunnel fires is decreasing due to increased safety measures and awareness.

Out of the 690 tunnel fires that occurred in the United States between 2000 and 2010, there have been less than 70 reported cases since then, a 90% decrease. Despite this decrease, it is still important to learn about the risks associated with tunnel fires and the basis for why it is called a tunnel fire.

Read on to discover the history and background of tunnel fires and their devastating potential.

Why is it Called a Tunnel Fire?

A tunnel fire is a special type of fire that’s been around for decades. It usually occurs in underground train or subway systems and involves extreme temperatures, smoke, and toxic gases.

If experienced, a tunnel fire can be a deadly and frightening experience. But what exactly is a tunnel fire, and why is it called a tunnel fire?

This article will explore these questions and provide a better understanding of what a tunnel fire is and why it’s called a tunnel fire.

What is a Tunnel Fire?

A tunnel fire is a particular type of fire that’s ignited in a confined space like a train or subway tunnel. It can occur when trains and other vehicles using the tunnel create a spark or a flame due to a friction or other mechanical problem. In a tunnel fire, the fire, smoke, and gas become trapped in the tunnel, creating a highly dangerous, chaotic environment.

The fire can also spread quickly due to the confined nature of the tunnel, making it difficult for passengers and employees to escape.

Extreme heat and Toxic Gases

Tunnel fires produce an intense heat that can exceed 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition to the heat, tunnel fires can also generate toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. These gases can severely damage and even kill passengers and crew on a train, as well as anyone in the vicinity of the fire.

Unique Challenges

Tunnel fires present unique challenges to first responders.

Because they can happen at any time and in any place, they don’t have the same warning signs as less severe fires. In addition, the conditions of the tunnel can make it difficult to access the fire and provide help. For these reasons, tunnel fires are often extremely difficult to handle. Firefighters must be highly trained and have access to specialized equipment to safely extinguish the fire and provide assistance to those affected.

Why is it Called a Tunnel Fire?

Tunnel fires get their name from their common occurrence in train tunnels. As stated earlier, the enclosed nature of a tunnel can create an especially hazardous environment for both passengers and first responders. It’s for this reason that tunnel fires are called tunnel fires.


A tunnel fire is a serious and potentially deadly type of fire that occurs in enclosed spaces like train or subway tunnels. They present unique challenges to first responders due to their intense heat, smoke, and toxic gases, as well as their confined spaces. For these reasons, tunnel fires are called tunnel fires. Citation URLs:https://blog. crisiscleanup. org/2018/08/understanding-tunnel-fires-the-importance-of-fire-safety/https://www. firerescuemagazine. com/articles/print/volume-15/issue-4/features/fighting-tunnel-fires-with-a-new-approach. html https://www. firehouse. com/stations-training-ops/firefighter-training/article/21009543/firefighter-modifications-and-tunnel-fires https://www. fireengineering. com/articles/print/volume-166/issue-7/training/tunnel-fire-fighting-the-heat-is-on. html

Leave a Comment