Int J Performability Eng ›› 2007, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (3): 355-368.doi: 10.23940/ijpe.07.3.p355.mag

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Fire Risk in Metro Tunnels and Stations


  1. 1Fire Performance Engineering Group Meinhardt Australia P/L Level 12, 501 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
    2Hyder Consulting Level 5, 141 Walker Street, North Sydney, NSW 2060, Australia


The confined space inside a tunnel poses a peculiar set of risks to the users, especially in the event of a fire. There is limited escape facilities and restricted intervention access by emergency personnel in these structures. A major fire in a tunnel can result in costly damage to the infrastructure in terms of reparation and economic loss from downtime. This paper looks at the fire risks of metro tunnels, where a large number of users are potentially exposed to these risks. A brief literature review of tunnel incidents in the past is conducted to present the factors that have led to the occurrence of various disasters in these tunnels. A risk assessment technique for a limited analysis of fire risks in metro tunnels is presented. The method is based on a simplified model of estimating the consequences from these risks by calculating the effects of fires in a tunnel configuration and the impact on people that may be exposed to these effects. The factors contributing to the occurrence of fires in metro tunnels and their consequences are assessed and the effectiveness of various means of mitigating these risks is presented. The key factors that have a significant impact on the level of risks from both the contributing factors and the mitigation measures are identified. Means by which the contributing factors may reduce the level of risks in order to achieve a cost-effective design solution are discussed.
Received on October 10, 2006
References: 09