I need help please.  I am looking for input on wheel fires on semi-trucks.  I have very little experience on these.  If anyone has good input or experience please let me know.  Thank you!

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You guys dont have back up extinguishers? We are a small dept with an even smaller budget but we still have 6 backup extinguishers, 4 10 lb ABC and 2 15 lb CO2. When you use one replace with the backup until its recharged. If its needed, its used. I agree though, we have used water on these type fires also and have never seen anything blow up or even react violently, other than the obvious steam, but that is what extinguishes the fire faster, steam. Use water if its a large fire, if its still small, like one tire or something than use the Dry Chem or CO2 for a quick knockdown but stretch the crosslay as a backup.
Thank you everyone for the input. I am mainly concerned with the "split" rims coming apart, or any type of metals that are used that don't care for the water. I was curious if anyone had something "bad" happen to them relating to this. I didn't know if the wheels can react like aircraft wheels or not. I do know about those. I appreciate all the input on this. Thanks again.
Any metal ending in "ium" reacts violently to water, such as titanium, magnesium, sesium etc etc. A lot of car engines are made from magnesium, and Im sure you have seen the videos on youtube where the firefighter gets blown back after applying the first water to car fires? That bright white sparking and sometimes violent small explosions come from the water reacting with these metals. I do not know if brakes or axles are made of these metals at all, perhaps someone with more experience can shed more light on that. But if you use water and get that reaction, chances are its one of those metals and it requires a lot of dry chem or extremely dry sand from a dump truck to extinguish these fires.
Our standard response on any vehiecle fire is our rescue truck with foam. We use foam on these situations but then we don't have a lot of these in our area but we have found that foam works best for this.
The metal in the drums of any break is made of steel, thats not what is burning, what is burning is the Class D fire material in the break shoes. Magnisium is a flammable metal, some engines have this as well, Fiero, older Volkwagons and the stering colum of a Ranger pick-up.
On the rigs, as Ralph Carr can atest to, you have break cams and hydrolic lines on the rear trailers, when the breaks heat up ( usually from one of those OH NO moments, any residue or leakage is super heated by the friction of the breaks being applied. Or if the air tank on the trailer, that controls the breaks, runs below 60psi, their breaks will lock up. The fires you deal with after that, are caused by friction, but since your dealling with flammable metal, you need a PPK, or purple K ext.
Class D fires, require PPK, anything else is just going to make it mad.
Not nearly as many split rims as there used to be. Oh,they're still out there but most Companies have gone to tubeless tire(and one piece rims).We usually use water(and foam) and try to "choke" it down and cool the area SLOWLY oncw the fire is contained.
I'm going to disagree with you here, Mark. I don't know of any heavy trucks or trailers that use combustible metals in brake components, wheels or axles. These are normally manufactured from heavy duty steel.

Combustible metals are used in other areas, mostly under the hood or in the cab
Having had exprience with a rear trailer axles' bearings busting, axle heated up to excess and actually caught fire, a 10BC fire exstinguisher, fire was out, and the entire rear axle (Sealed Hub) had to be replaced. No easy feat, since it was on a 53 ft. Reefer unit. I was hauling a load of candy to M&M Mars.
Can't say everyone would know how to deal with it right away.
In our rigs we had to be equiped to deal with minor emergencies.

OK, thank you everyone. I appreciate the input.

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