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    Default Flash Over and Back Draft

    Can anyone give examples of a situation during a fire that they experienced a back draft and or flash over. Did this happen only during ventilation?

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    I have only seen one backdraft in real life. It was in an attic.

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    Thank you Bou. Would you care to elaborate.

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    Oh would you look at that. Someone is asking a question along the same line. Hmmm go figure. My search button never seems to work. I am looking at the thread. The difference between flashover and rollover in the probie section. Very good info.
    Last edited by firetruckred; 09-16-2006 at 03:47 AM.

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    Like Bou, I have also only witnessed one backdraft, and it was in an attic. We were fighting a well-involved house fire on a very large house that had been added to several times over the years. There were two attached carports on this house, one off the front and one off the "D" side....each carport probably large enough for 3 or 4 cars. Anyway, having no ladder truck, and with the roof already collapsing on the main section of the house, we were operating on top of the two carport sections just to get a little elevation, lobbing water onto the fire. I was on one carport when I saw the crew on the other carport (about 3 guys, I think) heading down the ladder, quickly. Just as they were coming down off the roof, the attic area over the carport backdrafted, blowing 2 or 3 plywood sections out of the ceiling.

    Talking to those 3 guys later (one was the chief of a neighboring department), they said as they were standing on the roof, they felt the roof deck suddenly start "breathing" under their feet...flexing and pulsing...they abandoned the roof and got off just as it blew.

    It was pretty impressive.....I suppose it would be classified as a backdraft.
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    Flashover, once badly.

    In it is not fun going into an enclosed internal room and doing a pucker factor of 10.

    Steam burn through PPE is cherry red

    Whats ventilation on an internal room?

    Not a good look watching your line turn to steam and blow back at you 3 feet from the nozzle, but DO NOT turn it off. The guys at the other end of the hall saw the flames washing down our backs around our boots. The other end blew 25 to 30 feet out the door we had entered.

    Thermals blew the door out at us as we entered, check the hinges was the lesson to both of us.

    Steam burns hurt, flames hurt, your Brothers hitting you down the hall with their line, bloody priceless.
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    A backdraft is a situation which can occur when a fire is starved of oxygen; consequently combustion ceases but the fuel gases and smoke remain at high temperature. If oxygen is re-introduced to the fire, eg. by opening a door to a closed room, combustion can restart often resulting in a explosive effect as the gases heat and expand. This effect is the basis for the synonym smoke explosion. Characteristic signs include yellow or brown smoke, smoke which exits small holes in puffs (often found around the edges of doors and windows), and windows which appear brown or black when viewed from the exterior. These darker colors are caused by incomplete combustion. If the room contains a lot of soot, it indicates that the room lacks enough oxygen to permit combustion. Firefighters often look if there is soot on the inside of windows and in cracks around in the room. The window might have cracked because of the heat. If firefighters discover a room pulling air into itself, for example through a crack, they should evacuate immediately, because this is a strong indication that a backdraft is imminent. Due to pressure differentials, these puffs of smoke are sometimes "sucked" back into the enclosed space from which they emanate, which is where the term "backdraft" originates.
    This is a very dangerous situation.The most common tactic used by firefighters in defusing a potential backdraft is to ventilate from the highest point, allowing the heat and smoke to escape without igniting explosively.

    A flashover is the simultaneous ignition of all combustible material in an enclosed area.

    Flashover occurs when the majority of surfaces in a space are heated to the point (known as fire point) at which they give off flammable gases that are hot enough to sustain combustion. Flashover normally occurs at 500 C (930 F).The classic example of flashover is where a piece of furniture is set alight in a domestic room. The fire on the furniture produces a layer of hot smoke across the ceiling in the room. The radiated heat from this layer causes pyrolysis (heating of the other surfaces in the room, causing them to give off flammable gases). When the surface temperatures become high enough, these gases ignite and, in the space of a few seconds, every surface in the room may be on fire.
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    We had a close call one time with what turned out to be a smoke explosion.

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthre...ight=backdraft
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    Thank you. I appreciate your input.

    For the most part the reason for my question is to hear personal experience but also if this has occurred often in ones career.

    One can't really give accurate numbers on how much this will happen because each call is different every day, you never know what is in store for your shift of course. I know you can have 1 call or 29 calls in a day. Hearing from such experienced and diverse FF's from around the world helps tremendously. It also helps to hear that it has only happened a few times in ones careeer.

    I know understanding fire behavior, training and sticking close to the experienced are essential to safety on the job. I live in smallville so not much happens here but when it does one needs to be prepared.

    I am glad to hear everyone made it out safely in your stories. We all know this does not always happen. : (

    In the Essentials Book it states the definition and I have watched videos. I am delighted to hear from the horses mouth also. Thank you so much.
    You all are so helpful! : )
    Last edited by firetruckred; 09-16-2006 at 10:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arhaney
    We had a close call one time with what turned out to be a smoke explosion.

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthre...ight=backdraft
    Thank you so much for this info! Great discussion. : )

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    Rapid Fire Phenomena, such as 'flashover', 'backdraft' and 'fire gas ignitions' occur about once in every 187 structure fires. These are officially recorded statistics in the UK. I appreciate there are construction differences, attendance times, tactics etc that might demonstrate different stats in the US but I would bet you the stats are not too far away from that figure.

    This means that rapid fire phenomena is far less likely in 'smallville' than downtown cityscape. However, lottery winners more often come from 'smallville' if you catch my drift!

    There is a very close link between ventilation tactics and rapid fire phenomena. Just as such tactics may reduce the chances of events in some situations, the opening up of compartments/structures can also cause an event in other scenarios.

    An in-depth knowledge of 'practical' fire behavior is essential.
    Last edited by PaulGRIMWOOD; 09-16-2006 at 04:06 PM.

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    When I was just starting out the small volunteer dept. I was on had a fire in the town library about 0600. Someone ran into the restaurant next door and reported haevy smoke showing. While someone called the FD, a couple of the "'Ole boys" at the restaurant ran over to the station, jimmied the lock and took the old tank truck with a 250 gpm portable pump, leaving the class A pumper sitting there. These heroic firemen had been on the dept. about 10 years before that, when all you had to have was a pulse. Anyway they pulled up to the front of the library pulled a 1.5" line to the front door and were about to kick in the dront door when the Dep. Chief arrived and literally yanked the hose out of their hands. The D/C with all his newfangled training recognized the a backdraft condition and ordered the first actual firemen to the roof to take a skylight out. Upon arrival of the D/C he (and others) witnessed; totally blacked out windows, thick brownish smoke pushing and being draw back in around the front door, and smoke pushing from all the nail holes in the clapboards.
    Of course the two bone heads who were pulled off the line couldn't be convinced they were wrong and they even tried to blame the FD and D/C for part of the overall damage from the fire, which was handily put out in short order.

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    RFDACM02, I can appreciate your story. Thanks for sharing it. The good ole boy system is alive and well where I live. I am not actually from here so it is quite the experience. The outright stubborness of not agreeing that the DC actually saved their ***** is so funny and very common here. They don't seem to reason real well with each other. I am guessing it is the same in other small towns. Drives me nuts in the least.

    PaulGrimwood, Thank you for that info on stats. : )

    I love coming on here and getting direct answers. Real life experience answers. It really helps.

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    I posted my experience on another forum similiar when I find it I'll copy and past it.

    I have a video I use when teaching that has a engine on a front porch with a line stretched, with fire out the front door that is partially open. Another firefighter takes a window on the B side, right near the A/B corner and then the next thing you see it a huge flash and fire rolling right over the heads of the attack team. Many students always ask being he took a window if it was a backdraft or a flashover and the debate begins when you tell them flashover. The addition of the air allowed the final push to its flashover temp. Very useful video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ALSfirefighter
    I posted my experience on another forum similiar when I find it I'll copy and past it.

    I have a video I use when teaching that has a engine on a front porch with a line stretched, with fire out the front door that is partially open. Another firefighter takes a window on the B side, right near the A/B corner and then the next thing you see it a huge flash and fire rolling right over the heads of the attack team. Many students always ask being he took a window if it was a backdraft or a flashover and the debate begins when you tell them flashover. The addition of the air allowed the final push to its flashover temp. Very useful video.
    Ok great. Thanks!
    Last edited by firetruckred; 09-16-2006 at 11:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firetruckred
    Can anyone give examples of a situation during a fire that they experienced a back draft and or flash over. Did this happen only during ventilation?
    war story....

    Shortly before 10:00 AM on Wednesday December 23, 1998, we responded to 124 West 60 Street apartment 19-D. Engine 40 and companies from Manhattan were called upon to battle a 4 alarm hi-rise fire on the Upper West Side. We were moving in with a 2 1/2 line and in a virtual repeat of the fire that killed 3 fire fighters 5 days prior, the hallway and stairwell were converted into a 2000-degree furnace in seconds. The apartment door was chock open a window broke and fueled by a live Christmas tree, disaster. Within minutes fire was showing throughout the 19th floor apartment's windows; clouds of black smoke billowed up along the buildings 51-story facade. Unlike the fire on Vandalia Avenue, this building was not required to have sprinklers in the hallways, only a fire-hose and standpipe in the stairwell. This time, 4 civilians died of burns in this fire and 4 firefighters sent to the burn center. Between the 27th and 29th floor firefighters found the civilians.
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    Quote Originally Posted by E40FDNYL35
    war story....

    Shortly before 10:00 AM on Wednesday December 23, 1998, we responded to 124 West 60 Street apartment 19-D. Engine 40 and companies from Manhattan were called upon to battle a 4 alarm hi-rise fire on the Upper West Side. We were moving in with a 2 1/2 line and in a virtual repeat of the fire that killed 3 fire fighters 5 days prior, the hallway and stairwell were converted into a 2000-degree furnace in seconds. The apartment door was chock open a window broke and fueled by a live Christmas tree, disaster. Within minutes fire was showing throughout the 19th floor apartment's windows; clouds of black smoke billowed up along the buildings 51-story facade. Unlike the fire on Vandalia Avenue, this building was not required to have sprinklers in the hallways, only a fire-hose and standpipe in the stairwell. This time, 4 civilians died of burns in this fire and 4 firefighters sent to the burn center. Between the 27th and 29th floor firefighters found the civilians.
    Hi. Thank you for the time to write that story. I always appreciate reading your input on FH. Your dedication to informing us of what is happening in the world of Firefighting is appreciated so much.

    This is an example of a flashover? Right?

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    Default Backdraft box

    I am very interested in the subject. Paul Grimwoods site has given some very insightful info on the subject.

    Currently, I am in pursuit of the backdraft box used in Europe by the English, French and others. I have been looking for plans and such but have only found the info in French. As the Assistant Training officer of my department, I have been working on the box for demostration and study of fire behavior....I am very close but I believe the temp just hasn't gotten high enough or the gases haven't accumulated enough yet. Can anyonne help me.

    First, does anyone have the plans in English.
    Secondly, can you share your expieriences with the "Backdraft Box"?

    Sites of Reference:
    http://www.flashover.fr/modules.php?...ownload&cid=13 cut and paste link the open either "KIT MINI-MANSION" or "KIT-1-Balaina"

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    CITA fire school is this weekend here in IA. I am enrolled in 2 classes. One is RIT class and the other is a Mobile Flashover Simulator. I will try to post the "results" of the class next week. Sounds pretty cool though. Prerequsites were FFI trained and a written permission letter from your chief.

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    Speaking of Flashover Simulators....

    There was one at the SC Firefighters Convention I attended this year. Regional Emergency Services Training Center, Gaston College in NC was who sponsored it . The website is www.GastonFire.com. I talked with a few brothers who attended the seminar and experienced the simulator. One said it was a kind of heat he had never encountered before and that it will push you to your limits.

    When you enter the website click on RESTC. This tells you about the flashover simulator. I would contact a representative and ask to speak with whoever is the trainer/coordinator. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by firetruckred; 09-17-2006 at 07:32 PM.

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    I've been involved in a fire where it roll-overed and exploded on us. It wasn't a backdraft or flashover though.
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    Actually the system I am working on is a small 2 foot by 2 foot box.

    It does the backdraft on a small scale. I used a box framed out of 2x4's and covered with 1/2 plywood. It is about the size of a medium sized doghouse.

    It was impressive, we got the smoke to turn to a yellow brown... then it flashed out, however no big ball of fire. It is possible that our lower hole was too large and didn't get the push and volume of fire exhalating like some of the frenchie's videos show


    http://www.flashover.fr/telechargeme...eo/jp_mini.wmv

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    Understood. : ) Just thinking they might be able to give ya hand in perfecting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffmedcbk1
    I am very interested in the subject. Paul Grimwoods site has given some very insightful info on the subject.

    Currently, I am in pursuit of the backdraft box used in Europe by the English, French and others. I have been looking for plans and such but have only found the info in French. As the Assistant Training officer of my department, I have been working on the box for demostration and study of fire behavior....I am very close but I believe the temp just hasn't gotten high enough or the gases haven't accumulated enough yet. Can anyonne help me.

    First, does anyone have the plans in English.
    Secondly, can you share your expieriences with the "Backdraft Box"?
    This is no sales pitch guys but the book 3D Firefighting (IFSTA/FPP) has all the information you need (including plenty of training videos) on 'flashover' simulators and training props. E-mail me at training@fire2000.com if you want a copy of the plans to build the small boxes.

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