Les Marches english summary
On Saturday 23 February at about 21.45 a coach registered in Belgium and travelling on the A43 towards Chambéry caught fire just before arriving at the Chigin toll barrier at Les Marches (Savoie)
This was a 91 seater coach (including the driver and guide) which was carrying 50 passengers and 2 drivers.
There were no injuries but the coach and the luggage it was carrying were entirely destroyed.
The direct causes of the fire were :
the burner supplying the heating system and its exhaust pipe becoming separated, this was due to the grounding of the rear overhang of the coach that very morning during a delicate manoeuvre. The exhaust, which was at a high temperature (>320°C), was then in contact with the oily residues and fuel that impregnated the casing of the burner compartment and this caused them to burst into flame
the absence of sufficient checks on the state of the parts affected by the grounding before the next long distance journey
Also other factors increased the risk that this fire caused :
the absence of any automatic system of fire detection
the vulnerability of coaches to fire (flammability of materials, general layout
single staircase for the evacuation of the upper deck
The report made three recommendations concerning measures for the automatic detection and extinction of fires in vehicles used for public service, the flammability of the materials used in the construction of these vehicles and the getting on and off of the upper deck of double decker coaches.