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Smoker carlessness

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  • Smoker carlessness

    What is the maximum amount of time that a fire can occur from smoker's carlessness. Is it possible to have an occurance 48 hours after someone left the area of origin?

    Thank you for the information and taking the time to help educate me. The fire occurred in an "out building" used for storage but an addition was build as a bedroom for a daughter. The fire originated on the bed and the daughter claimed that she was gone for 2 days prior to the fire being reported.
    Last edited by firechief; 01-14-2005, 11:26 PM.

  • #2
    Anything is possible, 48 hours, It may be a streach but not impossible under the right conditions, especially if it goes unnoticed.


    • #3
      Generally speaking it is impossible.

      What was the fuel package? What was the building? Was the building unoccuppied for 48 hours? Provide more details.

      In general, a cigarette has very little heat energy. You could light 20,000 cigatrettes and lay them on a wood floor and the only thing you will accomplish is making a mess. You will have no fire. The air circulating around the cigarettes dissipates the heat energy,

      For a cigarette to cause a fire, the lit cigarette must be located somewhere where there is insulating material to allow the heat energy to build up. There also must be limited ventilation; enough to keep the combustion chain alive, but not enough to dissipate the heat energy to the atmosphere. For example, the cigarette must be located in an area such as between the cushion and the side of the couch, within the folds of the bedding or in a trash can with lightly packed dry materials.

      48 hours is probably too long to maintain the heat energy to cause flaming combustion. In that time frame, it is likely that the fire would have broken out many, many hours beforehand, or would have simplt burned out. I have investigated a boatload of smoking fires and I have never seen a time frame longer then 5-6 hours.

      Remember, smoking materials is about as much of an overused fire cause as electrical wiring.


      • #4
        Right you are George, the conditions have to be near perfect for this to happen. In the 15 yrs that I have been investigating I have never found this situation to be from a cigarette.


        • #5
          Originally posted by LACAPT
          Right you are George, the conditions have to be near perfect for this to happen. In the 15 yrs that I have been investigating I have never found this situation to be from a cigarette.
          Respectfully, in my opinion, there are no conditions that would allow a fire to burn in a non-detectable fashion and still generate self-sustaining heat energy for two days. If there is a fuel package that can self-heat, that is a different story. But a cellulosic or hydrocarbon based fuel package ignited by a relatively low energy igntion source would never be able to generate energy for two days and still burn undetected.


          • #6
            Without knowing all/any details, and only reading the prior posts and speaking from my experience with fires, bedroom fires specifically, and daughters... consider candles! Some of these LARGE aroma therapy monsters and "Fung-shway whatever" candles are pretty popular...and could last a considerable amount of time.

            I do agree with George on an undetected fire for 48 hours...unless you consider one of these candles that finally melts down and "fails"..


            Robert K. Toth, IAAI-CFI ®
            IRIS Fire Investigations, Inc.

            Bus. 303.840.4705
            Cell: 720.313.4679



            • #7

              Bob, you of all people, should know that profanity is not tolerated on these forums. This post has been reported to the WT.


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