1. #1
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    Default Fires that make you say, "Well I'll be damned..."

    Fire kills dog in Westminster
    Thursday, January 2, 2003

    By Matthew Bruun
    Telegram & Gazette Staff


    WESTMINSTER-- Investigators are searching for the cause of an apartment fire that apparently smothered itself before its occupants returned home yesterday afternoon.
    A 7-year-old dog was killed in the fire, Chief Brenton W. MacAloney said at the scene yesterday.
    The blaze at 158 State Road East -- also known as Route 2A, near the Fitchburg line -- occurred in a basement apartment under Advanced Glass & Mirror and Mike's Pizza Shop.
    The two occupants had gone out for New Year's Eve, Chief MacAloney said, and when they returned early yesterday afternoon, they discovered there had been a fire in the apartment. The occupants' names were not available last night.
    Damage was estimated at $15,000 to $20,000, and the chief said the occupants did not have property insurance. There was little damage to the structure, he said, with the losses confined to the occupants' belongings.
    The fire was largely extinguished when firefighters arrived.
    “We had a few smoldering embers in there,” said Chief MacAloney. “The fire apparently smothered itself. It ran out of oxygen.”
    He said the fire in the closed space likely produced so much carbon monoxide, the flames were extinguished before anyone returned.
    Firefighters ventilated the entire building with high-pressure fans while they awaited investigators from the state fire marshal's office.
    The fire started in the apartment's living room, where there was heavy fire and smoke damage. There was also heat and smoke damage in the kitchen and smoke damage in other rooms of the apartment.
    The businesses above the apartment had minor smoke damage, the chief said. He alerted the Board of Health to inspect the pizza shop, since any fire affecting a restaurant necessitates an inspection.
    Although the cause of the fire yesterday was unknown, Chief MacAloney said the fire did not match the pattern of arson blazes that remain under investigation in town. The three arson fires that occurred between Dec. 12 and Dec. 16 involved apparently dilapidated structures, only one of which was in use. All three of those fires began during the night and were reported by passers-by.


    Thursday, January 2, 2003

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    This type of fire is always tough to understand. I worked a fire a couple of years ago in which an ottoman was set on fire by a carelessly discarded cigarette. The victim, a 90+ yoa male was found dead in bed. CO was about 79%. The ottoman was completely consumed and burned a hole in the floor. Nothing else in the place was touched. The fire happened about two dyas prior to being found.

    Very weird.

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    We had a fire a few years ago that was started by the air pump for a fish tank. Burned the cabinet below the tank for a while, ended up breaking the glass of the tank, which then had all the water from the tank put the fire out. PD arrived on scene before tank broke and saw the flames, minute or two later we arrived, forced entry, no more fire!
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I have been to several fires that completely or mostly burned out due to lack of oxygen.

    We had one a couple years ago where a hot hair dryer on a bed burned a hole through the linens, then slowly smoldered through the entire mattress and left the sheets intact over a bare mattress spring.

    I also particularly enjoyed the one that burned through a water line and created its own sprinkler system.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
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    I went to a smothered out fire early in my career in a rather large older home. Absolutely everything more than three or so feet off the floor was black, everything below was untouched.

    Evey time I think about that call I get the creeps. Had we been called much earlier, I'm sure I would have seen a pretty dramatic backdraft - something I'd rather see on training tapes only.
    ullrichk
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    I've seen one really good example of this on the job. Bystanders noticed heavy fire conditions inside of a resturant closed for the night and called 911. Upon our arrival, smoke was showing from the eaves. Upon entry, we found a couple of small fires (with a base no bigger than a sheet of paper). The kitchen area was mostly gutted... but the fire -- for the most part -- was out. If we didn't get there when we did, we wouldn't have had anything to squirt water on.

    Last December, my former department responded to two reported house fires where the fire was out upon arrival. In each, a candle had been left burning and ignited surrounding materials. In both cases, the fire charged the houses with smoke, burned a bit of the table it was sitting on and then smothered out.

    I responded on one of the calls on Christmas Eve. The other, which had been about a week or so earlier, was AT MY HOUSE. (Which just shows that no one is immune.)

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    I also particularly enjoyed the one that burned through a water line and created its own sprinkler system.
    On a similar note - we didn't get toned out for this one but the farmer told me about it later. He had a fire on his cotton picker. The fire burned through the poly water tank on the picker and the ensuing rush of water put the fire out. Very fortunate for him. We usually have a picker fire once every year or two and they are always a total loss. A new cotton picker will cost from $275,000 - $350,000.

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