Recently in a class I took, we were asked to find information about rocket fuel fires. We also were assigned to find info on an arsonist named John Orr. He was a captain in California. I have a little research on him, but nothing much. Any help would be appreciated.
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04-06-2001, 12:45 AM #1eelambFirehouse.com Guest
Rocket fuel fires, and firefighter arssonists
04-06-2001, 06:44 PM #2IceraderFirehouse.com Guest
Well, where do I begin. First , I'll start with Rocket Fuel fires. In the mid-80's there were a spate of arson fire in the great Northwest. These fires were arson in cause and the theory, and I repeat the theory was, solid rocket fuel cells were the accelerant used in these fires. These fires burned so hot and so fast, experts had never seen anything like it before. In some of the fires, the concrete floors had actually experienced the closest thing to melting known. The normal expectation of concrete is "spalling." It was believed that the only thing that burned with that type of BTU power was solid rocket fuel. There was never any trace of an accelerant detected. The belief here was that the fire burned so intensely it completely consumed the accelerant. Many investigators and scientists such as John DeHahn attempted to prove or disprove the theory of solid rocket fuel accelerants. As far as I know, it has never been officially determined. I heard one theory that the accelerant in some of these fire might have been powdered metal, such as aluminum or magnesium. That is what I know....there are articles written on the subject.
Now as for John Orr. I personally knew John Orr. I even took a couple of classes from him. He was a Fire Captain with the Glendale Fire Dept in Southern California. John was considered the guru of Fire Investigators. The Fire Investigator teacher of Fire Investigators. I would say that probably 80% of investigators in the late 80 had taken classes from Orr. John had an uncanny ability to solve fires. He could walk into a completely burned out building, walk over to an area and point to the spot where the fire started. He would then go on to tell you what the device looked like. Some of these fires were very big...some were wildland, some were fatal fires. In one of the early fires, a device was discovered. The device was printed and prints were discovered, unfortunately technology had not caught up yet. The evidence was held in P&E for years.
In the early 90's these fire were continuing. In one of the fires a device was recovered. Low and behold it was a match to the earlier one. It was sent in for processing. Now at this point the CalID system was up and running. The print came back to Orr. The ATF was called in and intense surveillance was conducted, some hi-tech. John was placed at the scene of a number of fires at the time they began. he was later arrested. He had written a book about a Fire Investigator arsonist that paralleled his career. John was convicted in Federal court for arson. He was serving time in federal prison. The State of California charged him with 2 counts of homicide for a least one of the fires. He was convicted a couple of years ago. He is serving a life sentence.
The case against him was very tight and was eventually made into a TV movie.
I was an Arson Investigator during the late 80's and the 90's. I was privy to some of the investigation before it was public knowledge. Before John was a suspect, I had a fire believed to be part of the trail. I was on a task force that looked into these fires. Once John was identified, all local investigators were taken out of the loop for preservation of the case. ATF ran the investigation exclusively.
I hope this information is beneficial to you.
Captain Bill Dumas
[This message has been edited by Icerader (edited 04-06-2001).]
04-07-2001, 05:06 AM #3CJBFireConsultantFirehouse.com Guest
For more information on the alleged HIGH-Temp Accelerant Fires, contact ATF Agent Steve Carmen from San Fransisco, California office.
He actually was involved in the investigation and research on these alleged fires and not only has authored papers on the subject, but toured the IAAI circuit lecturing on the topic. He has some interesting DOCUMENTATION to support his opinions. Many, if not most, of the fires where the cause was attributed to allegations of a high-temp accelerrant by the local public officials were later disproven and not accepted through the use of scienctific analysis and testing.
CJB Fire Consultant
04-09-2001, 05:58 PM #4eelambFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for all the info. I checked out the LRC and they sent me a bundle of stuff. Keep it coming.
12-05-2010, 12:55 AM #5
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- Dec 2010
in the late 90's I watched a documentary about arson and how the some arson fires were melting the steel in the buildings. Also the fire burned so hot that the water, from the firefighters, became fuel, that is the hydrogen and oxygen separated and fueled the fire. The documentary stated that the it was determined that the fuel for the initial fire was amonium tri-chlorate (sp) or per-chlorate (sp) either way, the documentary claimed it was space shuttle fuel.
Jump ahead to the 2002 winter Olympics. I am working as low level security, myself and co-workers are speaking with two soldiers from who served in Iraq during Gulfwar I. The soldiers started telling us about something called "wall of fire" (the soldiers exact term) they talked about how it could melt the steel tracks on military vehicles. My co-worker asked what the substance was that was used for the "wall of fire". The soldiers claimed it was classified.
I finally spoke up and said "I know what it is", the soldiers laughed and asked "what" I responded "Either ammonium perchlorate or trichlorate or it is space shuttle fuel". Both soldiers eyes IMMEDIATELY widened, they literally were speechless, after my comment they walked away.
So, putting things together. Lets say I was right about the substance for the "wall of fire".
So here is my conspiracy, the arson fires wherein the steel melted were mostly empty warehouses, I suspect that the military is responsible for the arsons/warehouse fires; they were testing "wall of fire". I have considered but have never filed a FOIA request on "wall of fire" just see what I could find.
I have also seen a documentary on John Orr, wherein he was not connected to the warehouse fires.
Last edited by franklinsims; 12-05-2010 at 12:57 AM. Reason: john orr
12-05-2010, 06:22 AM #6Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
12-26-2010, 11:25 PM #7
Ammonium perchlorate is solid rocket fuel and is regulated. Personnel must hold a certification in order to purchase rocket motors of this configuration.
Your story about the Gulf War sounds like some fictitious nonsense. I never heard such a thing. I inspected vehicles returning from Iraq and never saw or heard of anything of the sort. Something like that would have gone viral on the internet by now.
The military has several testing grounds where we test this sort of thing. One of them is Aberdeen. The other is Redstone Arsenal.
Do some research into the veracity of your claims and that of others before you post, okay?
12-27-2010, 10:54 PM #8
12-27-2010, 10:56 PM #9
01-12-2011, 06:07 PM #10
The fire in the Hardware store went unsolved for many years due to sheer lack of evidence, as the blaze was very intense and was fed by polyester cushions for lawn furniture but would prove to be the final nail in the coffin for John.
The second most notable fire was his last, while giving a class in southern California (I think) two women at a second hand clothes store noticed smoke coming from a pile of clothes on the ground. They rushed in and stamped out a incendiary device with a timer delay (Cigar wrapped in paper with some sort of fuel or accelerant mixed in I think.) The police retrieved the device and were able to pull a full thumb print off of it. When they ran the print in the California database a hit came up matching John Orr, at which point the ATF got involved and discovered John had been writing a book about a serial arsonist. When the ATF read the book they found many fires, described in ways that had not been investigated. Through further searches the ATF found he had either been in the city or had given classes in the city the fires were started at the same time of the fires. John Orr was arrested. When confronted with the evidence John pleaded not guilty on all counts, but was found guilty for one piece of damning evidence.
A quote from his book revealed a conversation between a couple at a fire much like the hardware store fire that the aunt and nephew were killed in. According to witnesses at the trial the boy had been asking for a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone from the Baskin Robbins across the street. In John's book there was a boy and his mother, and the boy was begging for a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone before he died. These frightening similarities doomed john to at least two consecutive life sentences.
Now to the other topic. Rocket fuel fires. There have been a few fires that have been been documented as starting via solid rocket fuel. Most notably a fire at the PEPCON rocket fuel plant which grounded shuttle flights for months. Explosion here But in my thoughts about the arson rash in the north west, I've always thought some sort of thermite was at work, seeing as how it can turn an ordinary brick into lava.
Incidently there was an X-Files episode related to those arsons.
Season one : Fire
@idiot's story. So what you're telling me is that the fire department was able to get close enoguh to this inferno without dying or hoving sever damage done to their trucks but when they sprayed water onto the fire it did hit the hot spot without flasshing into steam and nuclear fission occured? Cool story bro.
03-17-2011, 11:00 AM #11
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- Mar 2011
Bart: Thank you.
Milhouse: under the supervision of the reverse vampires --
Milhouse: are forcing our parents to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the meal of dinner. We're through the looking glass, here, people...
Makes about the same amount of sense.
Last edited by 105; 03-17-2011 at 11:30 AM.
09-02-2012, 04:37 PM #12
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- Aug 2012
09-02-2012, 05:12 PM #13
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