The Top Three Known Causes of Escalator Fires

In large cities such as New York, hundreds of thousands of people use escalators every day. A routine NYC escalator inspection ensures that these people movers are safe and in good condition. An important element of these inspections is checking for the risk of fire. Inspectors will point out problems that increase the escalator’s risk of a fire. The inspection reports will also detail what needs to be done in order to correct the problem. These are the three most common causes of fires on escalators.

Lack of Maintenance

Lack of maintenance is a leading cause of escalator problems, including fires. Insufficient maintenance may cause fuzz, hairs, rodent debris and trash to accumulate in the mechanical areas of the escalator. These items are combustible. All it would take is a spark from pulling the emergency brakes or the careless dropping of a match for a fire to start underneath the escalator.

Insufficient Lubrication

The moving parts of the escalator all need proper lubrication. The constant movement of the metal causes a considerable amount of heat. Buildings and subways also generate their own heat. The lubricant may degrade over time. Routine lubrication is needed for all of the moving parts in order to avoid overheating. The overheating could cause sparks and ignite a fire.

Human Carelessness

Human carelessness is also a major cause of fires on escalators. Most buildings in New York City prohibit smoking in all public areas, which includes escalators. The subway also prohibits smoking. Unfortunately, there are still some people who do not abide by the rules and city codes. It is possible that a careless human could drop a match. A lit match could fall into the escalator and ignite the petroleum products that lubricate the moving parts. The match could also ignite any debris that has built up on the system’s moving tracks.