1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Unhappy Computers = 10 gallons of gas???

    Firehouse.com had this in the daily news email:

    Homeowner left home to do some shopping. Apparently left the stove on. Came back 30 minutes later to find smoke pouring from house. Some anonymous firefighter was quoted as saying that a computer is equal to 10 gallons of gas in a fire situation. There were over a dozen computers in the home.

    Now, maybe I'm wrong here, but this sounds like a load of BS to me. If there were over 120 gallons of gas in the building, there'd be more than just smoke "pouring" from the house after 30 minutes. That house would be on the ground within 10 minutes of ignition, easily, IMHO. If computers were that flammable, you'd think that insurance companies would ask how many computers you have and jack your premiums if you had more than a couple.

    HOWEVER....giving the benefit of doubt to the unknown source, would anyone care to enlighten me with some research on subject of fireload contribution from home computers.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    EFD840's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Eclectic (no, NOT electric), Alabama


    I hope that is a misquote by the reporter.

  3. #3
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Smile Well,................

    I am NOT a Computer person, however I would think that the reference to "the same as Gasoline" would be the comparison of the BTU content of the Plastics found in the PC, Monitor, Keyboard, and Wiring of a home computer system. Hopefully, someone will join us here with more insight of the flammability of Plastics.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  4. #4
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    E229Lt's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000


    Likely the BTU output through the entire burning process. I don't think anyone is trying to say the volatility is the same. Even still, 10 gallons of gasoline seems a bit of a stretch.

    Now, if they were talking about cost, maybe a computer is equal to 10 gallons of gas.

  5. #5
    This space for rent
    NYSmokey's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Recently relocated to Baltimore County, MD


    I saw a short presentation on office cubicle fires a few years ago. They had your typical cubicle setup - partition, desk, chair, waste basket, and computer workstation. I believe that the instructor said that a computer is equal to 15 POUNDS of gasoline due to it's chemical makeup.

    So.......if 1 gallon of distilled water is equal to roughly 8lbs....would that mean that a computer weighing 15lbs would be equal to roughly 2 GALLONS of gasoline? Further, if you have 15 computers as a fire load would that work out to approximately 30 gallons of gasoline???

    I tried to find some reference materials online but that search was NEGATIVE!

    Where's George when you need him?!!!

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