Petroleum fires: When to spray water AND dry chemical

Discussion in 'Furnaces and their construction' started by Melterskelter, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member

    Many of us burn liquid fuels in our furnaces. If you look at my videos, you will see a medium-sized newish dry chemical extinguisher standing ten feet from the furnace and a charged garden hose nearby as well. What I did not know is that combining the two results in a synergy that can be quite useful. The backstory:

    My son was over last night talking about his fire fighting training. He has been a firefighter for 6 years in a major city in the PNW and recently transferred to our local department. One thing we have in the area that he did not have previously is the presence of several large oil refineries. So, training on fighting those fires is important in the new job.

    Yesterday his class went to a local refinery where they have an amazingly large training setup that can burn imperessive amounts of diesel (cheap if you are in the refinery business) and have folks on staff well-trained in putting out such fires.

    A couple things he learned worth noting:
    1) Dry chemical extinguishers work remarkably well on liquid petroleum fires. That he, like most people, knew before but got test them out on a larger scale than he previously had the opportunity to test.

    2) The surprising tip he learned is that one can spray dry chemical into a stream of water played on a petroleum fire to amazingly good effect. That was demonstrated to him and he was impressed. One of the refinery workers related an experience where a local department was called to a farm tractor on fire due to a hydraulic line failure. The guys tried blasting it with water as it was too large to get close and, they thought, too large for a hand-held dry extinguisher. After 1000 gallons the fire was still going strong. Happening on the scene, the refinery fire fighter took a dry extinguisher and sprayed the powder into the stream of water---SNUFF!

    At the refinery they have special nozzles to discharge dry chem into the water stream very efficiently. But, a garden hose and an extinguisher would work pretty well.

    Good to know. Hopefully, none of us will need that info, but I doubt most of us would think of that potentially day-saving technique.

  2. master53yoda

    master53yoda Silver

    That is very interesting, we also have different fire situation with our foundries in that a spill is not extinguishable until we strip the heat out of the metal and get rid of the ignition temperature , that is best accomplished with a water spray , not a stream Dry chemical strip the o2 but the fire will relight if the metal is still above ignition temp

    Art b

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