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Re: GSBN:SB Fire fighting

At 7:38 PM -0800 1/7/07, Bob Bolles wrote:
It seemed plausible to me that while the wall was penetrated by the fire at
the electrical outlets, the wall became so hot (2,500 deg F ?) that the heat
caused the straw to off-gas carbon monoxide which created a firebox-like
interior of the building.

Has anyone else observed this kind of result, and does the offgassing seem
plausible? If so, what are the ramifications regarding fighting such a fire?

At the ASTM test we observed smoke issuing out from spaces between
the fire brick surround and a few other places.

A simple experiment would be to place a handful of straw into a
closed metal container.  Punch a small hole, then heat the container.
The material inside will gasify to some extent, dependent upon how
much heat you apply, and the resulting expanded gases will escape
through the hole.  It's quite likely that you could get the gases to
combust.  This is actually what happens when a solid material burns -
it gasifies, and the gases are the combustible bit, not the solid.

If burning straw typically produces carbon monoxide, then that would
likely be in there.  I don't know if it does, or in what quantities.
One more thing to test, I guess...

Anyway, that's likely what happened to the wall that was still
standing.  The straw heated and gasified and the escaping gases
combusted, leaving behind the charcoal and ash.  If nothing
physically disturbed the charred straw it would likely maintain its
previous shape.

BTW, I plan to ask my father about firefighting and strawbale next
time I talk to him - he's a 40+ year volunteer fireman and past
instructor and director of a training facility for firefighting, so
he may have some ideas.  I'll let you know.

Bill Christensen
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