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Vehicle, Plant & Machinery Fires

Vehicle, Plant and Machinery share common operational systems such as internal combustion engines, hydraulic, cooling and lubrication systems, as well as electronic control systems to ensure safe operation of them.

We are entering an era of global change that is seeing manufacturers finding alternative solutions to fuelling their products; the forerunners being battery and hydrogen power.  This is why our experts keep fully apprised with the changing scope of the implementation of these developing technologies so that we are well prepared when they come to market.

According to the Government statistics, there were over 17,500 vehicle fires, of all types, in the UK in the financial year (2020/2021), an amount that has been consistent for the past 10 years.  The causes of these fires can vary from a manufacturer defect, fault induced by a third-party repair, poor maintenance or a deliberate act.

Whether a fire occurs on-board a vehicle, in plant or machinery, there will be an inevitable cost associated with it.  Hawkins can provide an expert who is familiar with all aspects of a case and can offer clarity and answers to your questions.


We have the technical knowledge and experience to tell you why a fire has started, not just what caused it.

  • We have industry knowledge and professional experience that provides us with in-depth knowledge of the regulations and guidance that should be followed either during manufacture or maintenance of all types of vehicles, plant and machinery
  • We have experience assisting with vehicle builds, working practices and installations to identify areas at high risk of a fault
  • We offer guidance and/or help you define and develop good working procedures and practices to reduce the risk of incidents occurring
  • We provide you with the answers you need to determine why an incident occurred and so assist in repudiation/cover decisions and fraud identification
  • Our experts are knowledgeable in operational systems found on-board vehicles, plant and machinery and as such, they can investigate all aspects of these cases, meaning that you will probably only need to instruct one expert, rather than several. However, if further expertise is required, such as a metallurgist, Hawkins’ diverse range of expertise means that we can coordinate in-house
  • We keep track of safety recalls and use our in-house database to spot trends that can assist with these types of investigations, as well as to provide advice to assist in mitigating any further incidents
  • Where required, we will coordinate with representatives from the manufacturers to ensure that the investigation into causation is shared without prejudice
  • With regards to maintenance of these systems, we will help you to determine if an incident could have been avoided
  • We support subrogation/recovery efforts
  • We help you to make decisions regarding where legal responsibilities/liabilities lie
  • We help you to defend wrongful claims
  • We produce reports suitable for Court and litigation
  • We provide consultancy advice to prevent similar events happening again in the future
  • If removing a risk entirely is unavoidable, we advise on steps to take to mitigate the risk and reduce the potential damage resulting from an incident
  • We advise on servicing, maintenance and repair regimes

Examples of Typical cases

If you would like to know if we can help, please fill out our enquiry form or give us a call for a free consultation. The list below provides a few examples of cases which we investigate regularly or have investigated in the past.




We like to speak to you before we conduct any work, to establish if we can add any value to the case.  These discussions help us to understand your requirements, as well as determining how much information is already available, including for example, service records, first-hand witness accounts, photographs, and videos.  We are also happy to provide you with an estimate of the cost of conducting a forensic investigation.



If required and with your agreement, we will arrange to visit the scene where the vehicle, plant or machinery is located, to carry out the inspection.  Wherever possible, and if required, we will retain faulty parts for examination in our laboratory, where we use a range of equipment, tools, and tests to determine the cause of the fire.



Once our examination is complete, we will discuss our findings with you and prepare a report containing a detailed account of our investigation, conclusions, and where appropriate, further work or advice.

Related areas of expertise

Building Fires

Fires occurring within buildings will often result in significant damage to both the structure and contents. Even a small fire within a building can result in a significant claim, partly due to the increasing cost materials and labour to repair or rebuild.

Fire Stop & Spread

The spread of a fire within a building, or to an adjacent property, can have a significant impact on the safety of occupants and on the financial implications – both in terms of the remediation of the property and loss of business.

White Goods Appliance Fires

Given the number of white goods typically found in the domestic environment, it is little wonder that many domestic fires are attributed to white goods.