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Thread: magnesium fires

  1. #1
    tmr91
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    Post magnesium fires

    I looking for guidelines and information on how different departments handle magnesium fires. A local busniness is now starting to machine it. We haven't had any problems yet, just getting prepared. Any information would be appreicated.


  2. #2
    Lewiston2Capt
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    Get some D fire extinguishers. Tell them to get some too. Water doesnt work and dry chem will only spread it around.



    ------------------
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Captain
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

  3. #3
    MetalMedic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    We have two castings plants that do magnesium castings and also do grindings on their products. So, magnesium fires are no stranger to us. We have A LOT of dry powder extinguishers, but not all are D rated. If you have a sufficient amount of ABC extinguishers, you can address a magnesium fire with them. The factories also keep a supply of dry sand in the shops that we have had good luck with applying to such fires. Bury the burning magnesium, and the oxygen is denied thus extinguishing the fire.

    As you probably know, you do NOT want to apply water to a magnesium fire. The heat of the fire breaks down the water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules with explosive results. See if your new business will save some magnesium shavings for you to train with. Light SMALL amounts OUTSIDE with a highway flare and see what water does when you apply it to the fire. Then practice with some dry powder extinguishers, both D rated and a few ABC rated and learn what to expect when you get one of there.

    As I said, we see these fire from time to time and don't get too shook up over them. We take the time to load all our spare extinguishers before we leave the station and more times than not, the employees have shoveled enough sand on the fire that it is out before we get there.

    Hope that helps, feel free to contact me if I can answer any specific questions for you.



    [This message has been edited by MetalMedic (edited 02-14-2001).]

  4. #4
    Crash-n-Smash
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Get a Met-L-X extinguisher. Works for great magnesium fires on aircraft wheels. Be careful of what you get, some class D extinguishers are made for certain metals.

  5. #5
    natemarshall
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    Post

    You may want to contact Lt John Afshar or LT George Garramone of the Denver Fire Department. Denver has several magnesium producing facilities and their HAMER (Hazardous Materials Emergency Response) Unit
    responds to dozens of magnesium calls a year.

    John is located at Denver Fire HQ and George is at the Denver Fire Academy and is drillmaster.

  6. #6
    AZ3 Erik Prager
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Well, this isn't an option for most of you, but standard procedure for a Class Delta fire aboard any U.S. Navy vessel is ejection over the side if underway. Otherwise, procedure calls for extinguishment with massive amounts of water from multiple angles if possible. We mostly work with flares and aircraft parts in terms of D fires, and I have personally seen one with a F-14 Tomcat crash.

    Stay Safe

    AZ2 Erik Prager

    ------------------
    USS Kitty Hawk(CV-63)
    Flying Squad
    "Freedom's Firefighters"

    ***These statements do not neccessarily reflect the views of my command, the US Navy, or the US Government. They are strictly my own.

  7. #7
    firehat87
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    If you do purchase a Class D extiniguisher, make sure it is rated for Mg, no Class D extiniguisher is rated for all flammable metals. Class D extinguishing agents are called dry POWDERS, not dry chems. Do not use water or CO2, if you get a fire and do not have a Class D extinguishing agent handy, remove the burning product to the exterior of the building with a shovel and protect the exposures. You don't even neccesarily need a Class D extinguisher, Class D agents are often applied with a scoop from a bucket.

    ------------------
    Be safe.

  8. #8
    chief462
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    Post

    I have also herd that if you have a contained amount burning (like a dumpster)
    large amounts of water will extinguish it.
    I would advise only to do this outside and from a safe distance because it will act up at first.

    ------------------

  9. #9
    neil4597
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Lots of very dry sand, which should be readily available & provided by the business
    using the magnesium. Also correct eye protection as looking at burning magnesium is like looking at a welding torch

  10. #10
    wofd1
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    Post

    We have found that speedi-dry works on magnesium fires as well. What ever u use make sure its moisture free, or you'll have fireworks before your eyes. where eye protection. Our plant supplies brigade with equipment and materials for mag machining. Stay safe.

  11. #11
    Lieut706
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    If you use sand, make sure it is really dry. As mentioned any mosture in the sand and it will pop and crackle and spray stuff everywhere. Purple K or metal x powder can be shoveled over the material to cover it. Key is keeping piles of the shavings small and not letting powder and milling shavings from building up. Scooping small amounts of burning material up into a specified DRY metal bucket and taking it outside the building before it catches anything else on fire is a good idea and works well with small amounts.

  12. #12
    DSmits
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    True Story - We had a dumpster burning that I suspected had some magnesium in it although the hazardous waste facility denied it and the shipping papers denied it. We did the whole haz mat routine and at the direction of the facility where it came from after contacting Chemtrec, we tried foam and water. Of course it didn't work but we eventually dug deep into a pile of sane and found dry sand. Dont ever think that you will not be confronted with this type of fire. I recognized it right away but all the haz mat geeks from the company denied it because there was also cadmium and lead. Needless to say the haz waste facility that had the fire wanted to know what they had been shipped and found magnesium. Of course they no longer accept loads from the company that filled the dumpster.

  13. #13
    Icerader
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    90 lb bags of powdered "dry" cement!! Shovel it on and smother the fire. Works great!

    Capt Bill

    [This message has been edited by Icerader (edited 04-10-2001).]

  14. #14
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    Default abc dry chem

    abc works on metals ???

    i thought the one to use was purple k???

  15. #15
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    Default

    Here is a video to go along with your discussion -

    http://hamptonsfire.blogspot.com/200...p-care-of.html
    Hamptons Fire - Home of The Best Firefighting Video

  16. #16
    Worldwide Menace DFurtman's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by firegeek13 View Post
    abc works on metals ???

    i thought the one to use was purple k???

    no way! dry powder agent like MetalX is meant for class D fires.. Purple K is used in Dry Chem extinguishers and it is recommended to not use it on a class D fire.

    -Damien

  17. #17
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    Default purplek

    the funny part is that i herd people say purple k is used

    so i am always trying to find evidence that it is effctive but I dont think I have found any accredited sources that say it can be used .

    I personally think if has the h and O in water it would get a reaction

    is what seems like would make sense

    the ext refill tech even says it would explode!!!!

  18. #18
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    Default Magnesium - Practical & reading reference

    When I was exposed to firefighting basics, my chief was the haz-mat guru for this part of the state. We were frequently "treated" to little surprises in the vehicles that we burned for practice. You quickly learn to expecth the sudden white flash and the accompanying shower. If anyone still practices this sort of confidence building in rookie firefighters, please be extra cautious concerning the amount and conditions under which you expose your students to flamable metals. After encountering this a number of times through the years, I believe that the explosions are caused by rapid steam release when molten magnesium comes in contact with trapped water. The violent burning is a two fold process where the oxygen is combined with the magnesium releasing the hydrogen from the water.

    Emmanuel Fried in "Fireground Tactics" describes the extinguishment of a casting plant fire where valuable castings were saved by flooding the plant (slab on grade construction) by blocking up the doorways and gently flooding the plant with water until the uninvolved castings were all submurged.

    A chemistry major could determine if the magnesium to Magnesium oxide reaction is endothermic or exothermic. It might be possible to stop the reaction by forcing the hydrogen fire above the burning metal by flooding.

    In this case, the described dumpster fire could have been extinguished by screwing a plug into the dumpster drain and flooding the bin after closing the lid.

    Any chemists willing to look at the heat of reaction equation?

  19. #19
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    Default Clarification of the above post

    After re-reading my previous question, a restatement is needed.

    When the Hydrogen - Oxygen bonds are broken in the water it takes a great deal of thermal energy to do this. As soon as the released hydrogen contacts the air it recombines with the Oxygen in the air to release the same energy back to the system. My question for the chemists was, If we can keep this reaction (forming water) away from the magnesium, is the heat of combination of the oxygen and magnesium enough to balance the required heat for breaking the Hydrogen - Oxygen bond in the water. Is the reaction self sustaining under water or will it stop?

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