1. #1
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    Exclamation Small BLEVE Tonight

    Here's a good reason to wear all your PPE! We were paged out to a structure fire on the far side of our district tonight. I happened to be just out of the district on that side of the county so I went 10-8 and proceded to the scene in my POV since our units would be a long way out. On arrival I found the owners outside and confirmed that no one else was in the structure. Proceded to do a thorough walk around but really didn't notice anything unusual...........but under the fully involved front porch lay a 45 lb LP bottle, luckily it started to vent for about 30 seconds before the BLEVE, which gave me ample time to back waaaaaaaaaaaaay up. The expolsion sent a fireball up about 75 feet and set fire to the woods across from the house about 45 yards out! I hate to think what would have happened if our firemen would have been approaching the front of the house during the attack. I have secured the bottle and will try to post a couple of shots of atleast it and perhaps the scene. THE MORAL OF THE STORY FOR ME-EVERYONE IN FULL PPE AT ALL TIMES!
    Chief
    Wren Volunteer Fire Department
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    http://www.wrenfiredepartment.4t.com/

    In Memory of:
    FireFighter/Pilot James Archer
    1946-2005
    "Rest in peace James, you now have the ultimate set of wings on you."

    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

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    In alot of ways, SFD fires are the most dangerous.

    In almost all jurisdictions, the government has no authority to regulate what goes on in your home. The US Supreme Court has upheld the sanctity of the home time after time after time. That is how it should be.

    But because of that, we never know what we are going to encounter. I've seen fires with the reloader storing more than the alloted amount of powder, the chemical engineer who brought his work home, the home-based business selling dried flower arrangements out of her basement (kind of like raking your lawn and storing the leaves in the basement), transformation of a single family dwelling into a multiple family dwelling without the proper authorization, permits or inspections, and so forth. All of these situations present unique fire suppression challenges that would not be normally expected in a "routine" house fire.

    Theh lesson of this fire truly is "wear your PPE EVERY TIME!

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    Heavy involvement of a very two story farm house resulted in the enclosed back porch roof going down. While overhauling this area "It" went off. "It" went straight up into the air for about 30 feet, sounding like a mortar being fired. When "It" landed, some of the label remained. "It" turned out to be a can of Donald Duck Pineapple Juice.

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    Stopped by a friends house today who works in the LP industry and found out a couple of things about the cylinder.

    1. Was manufactured in Jan 1968!

    2. It was a 100 lb cylinder (25 gallon)

    3. The valve was turned off.

    4. It was not attached to a hose.

    Talked to the homeowner today and they told us that it was empty (yea right!)

    I'm still planning on posting a picture of it tomorrow.
    I can tell you that it wasn't a can of fruit!
    Chief
    Wren Volunteer Fire Department
    IACOJ
    Southern Division

    http://www.wrenfiredepartment.4t.com/

    In Memory of:
    FireFighter/Pilot James Archer
    1946-2005
    "Rest in peace James, you now have the ultimate set of wings on you."

    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

  5. #5
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    Not to sound ignorent, but what is a BLEVE?
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    In alot of ways, SFD fires are the most dangerous.

    In almost all jurisdictions, the government has no authority to regulate what goes on in your home. The US Supreme Court has upheld the sanctity of the home time after time after time. That is how it should be.

    But because of that, we never know what we are going to encounter. I've seen fires with the reloader storing more than the alloted amount of powder, the chemical engineer who brought his work home, the home-based business selling dried flower arrangements out of her basement (kind of like raking your lawn and storing the leaves in the basement), transformation of a single family dwelling into a multiple family dwelling without the proper authorization, permits or inspections, and so forth. All of these situations present unique fire suppression challenges that would not be normally expected in a "routine" house fire.

    Theh lesson of this fire truly is "wear your PPE EVERY TIME!
    Scary stuff..
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Empty is worse than full!

    First empty is rarely ever truly empty. There is a quantity of material left in the cylinder. Remember, the danger point in a BLEVE is flame impingement above the liquid level of the cylinder. If the container is "empty", there is no virtually no liquid level, thereby leaving the entire cylinder vulnerable to softening due to flame impingement.

    What you have to remember is that in an "empty" cylinder, the remaining vapor can and will still expand when heated. You have exactly the same danger of explosion, although the heat energy released and the post-BLEVE fire will be smaller.

    As far as the pineapple juice, remember the acronym BLEVE doesn't contain a word "flammable" in it. If the material inside a closed container can produce a vapor, that container can BLEVE. I saw a demo where a 55 gallon drum with about 1/3 water was placed in a controlled fire in such a manner as to direct flame above the liquid level. Although there was no fire, there was a tremendous explosion with a ton of energy released.

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    Not to sound ignorent, but what is a BLEVE?

    Boiling
    Liquid
    Expanding
    Vapor
    Explosion



    Tanker
    I.A.C.O.J. Firefighter/EMT-B

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    ...or

    Big
    Leveling
    Explosion
    Vaporizing
    Everything

    The above is sometime more accurate when it is something like a tanker truck or a rail car... not that a gas grill tank won't do some serious damage either.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    This is a link for nmfire's version of a BLEVE:


    Big
    Leveling
    Explosion
    Vaporizing
    Everything

    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/mc/video/truckfire.htm
    Chief
    Wren Volunteer Fire Department
    IACOJ
    Southern Division

    http://www.wrenfiredepartment.4t.com/

    In Memory of:
    FireFighter/Pilot James Archer
    1946-2005
    "Rest in peace James, you now have the ultimate set of wings on you."

    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

  11. #11
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    To give a little more detail to BLSBoy's question...

    BLEVE (and the boiling liquid acronym is the right one...the big leveling is just what it does) takes it's force from the sudden conversion of a superheated liquid to a vapor.

    In theory, you could have a pretty destructive BLEVE involving water or a can of baked beans.

    The place we most commonly see a dangerous BLEVE situation though is with Liquified Propane Gas (hey, it's the "L" in BLEVE!).

    An "empty" or less-than-full container is more dangerous as George points out since there is less mass of liquid to absorb the heat -- it gets to and above it's boiling point faster. Like a pressure cooker, the liquid gets above it's normal boiling point due to the container keeping pressure on it.

    Since LPG boils about *negative* 44 degrees (whether celsius or farenheiht!) you get heated to postive several hundred degrees before the container fails, you have a liquid that really, really wants to become a vapor cloud. Once the pressure vessel fails, the liquid above it's boiling point expandes as a vapor cloud with explosive force.

    Since LPG is flammable, soon as it finds an ignition source at a point when it's in it's flammable range, the result of LPG BLEVEs tend to be spectacular. Also back in the 60s and 70s quite deadly to Firefighters via transportation accidents, and even as late as the 1990s with the Iowa Turkey Farm Incident LPG BLEVEs were still killing firefighters.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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  12. #12
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    How 'bout

    Blast
    Leveling
    Everything
    Very
    Effectively

    That is my favorite, but all joking aside, a BLEVE occurs when product in a container under pressure expands so rapidly due heat impingement that the container ruptures violently. It can also result in a fire, but like George mentioned, a flammable liquid does not necessarily have to be involved, just contents under pressure. LPG is famous for some devastating BLEVEs that have occurred over the years, usually associated with rail incidents.

    http://server.firehouse.com/training...7_propane.html

    Just remember, propane makes 36.38 cubic feet of vapor for every liquid gallon of product when it is converted. Add to that the expansion for gases being heated and the container is going to fail anywhere between 8-30 minutes according to the NFPA for LPG.

  13. #13
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    A shot of the cylinder (sorry, best I could do!)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Chief
    Wren Volunteer Fire Department
    IACOJ
    Southern Division

    http://www.wrenfiredepartment.4t.com/

    In Memory of:
    FireFighter/Pilot James Archer
    1946-2005
    "Rest in peace James, you now have the ultimate set of wings on you."

    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

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    Exclamation

    Alan,
    Thanks for another good reason for full PPE and a good size up ! YIKES !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
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    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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    Originally posted by arhaney
    This is a link for nmfire's version of a BLEVE.....

    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/mc/video/truckfire.htm
    "Engine 1 arriving on sce--. Disregard that, Engine 1 is running away!"
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  16. #16
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    Just goes to show that nothing is routine....
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  17. #17
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    Since LPG is flammable, soon as it finds an ignition source at a point when it's in it's flammable range, the result of LPG BLEVEs tend to be spectacular.
    Very true, as evidenced by arhaney's video...A can of pineapple juice can BLEVE, but you don't get the very impressive fireball to go with it.

    We responded to a truck fire a few years back....Road crew installing reflectors on a stretch of new highway. They used a propane torch to heat the asphalt before applying the reflector. Between reflectors, they laid the torch on the back of the flatbed truck, with a small flame still lit (to avoid having to relight it every time, of course). Guess what happened?

    Turns out that truck contained two 5-gallon propane cylinders (for the torch), a couple of dozen 5-gallon epoxy containers, and what seemed like about a hundred cans of spray paint. When we arrived those cans were popping off all over the place, spray paint cans exploding and flying everywhere, epoxy containers blowing their lids and bungs about 100 ft. away from the truck. Then the crew foreman told us about the two propane cylinders (the one attached to the hose was already venting when the hose burned away, the other was closed). The pucker factor was very high at that moment. Needless to say, we backed waaaaaay up, evacuated a couple of nearby homes, and waited for the fireworks (they never blew, thank goodness). We watched that truck till it burned away to the frame (ruining a patch of the brand-new roadway in the process). When stuff had finally quit exploding (about 30 minutes later), we were finally able to go in and overhaul.
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 01-30-2005 at 10:13 AM.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
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    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    That video is a very good training tool - it shows the white vapour cloud escaping, and then how the fireball extends out to the edge of the vapour cloud. I'll have to go back and watch it again, but it sort of looked like the white vapour cloud came out of the fire initially, indicating that the vapour was too rich to ignite until it expanded a little more and dispersed down until it reached a level that would allow ignition.

    I wonder how bumpy the helicopter ride got?
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

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    I wonder how bumpy the helicopter ride got?
    You notice the video ended right then....I'll bet that pilot hauled butt out of there in a hurry
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Originally posted by dmleblanc


    You notice the video ended right then....I'll bet that pilot hauled butt out of there in a hurry

    I bet he had to rush back to clean his shorts out!

    On a more serious note, I hope that everyone who looks all the information that is available on these forums and elsewhere will actually use this information to "enlighten" your fellow firefighters. Even if just one injury, or God forbid, a LODD is averted it will be worth it!
    Chief
    Wren Volunteer Fire Department
    IACOJ
    Southern Division

    http://www.wrenfiredepartment.4t.com/

    In Memory of:
    FireFighter/Pilot James Archer
    1946-2005
    "Rest in peace James, you now have the ultimate set of wings on you."

    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

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