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Strange sparks at a car fire??????

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  • pei pat
    replied
    Yeah, vote me for magnesium as well. The only thing that will put out a metal fire such as that (in my experience anyway...) is, as already stated, a class D extinguisher (aka METAL X) or alot of sand to contain the fire. Generally metal fires can't be put out, and should, if possible, be allowed to burn out. A little bit in a sterring colum shouldn't burn long anyway. In my years as a full time military FF, I had fires in 2 M113 APC's (armoured personell carriers) which use some magnesium as an armour 'cause it's light weight. In both cases we let them burn out under supervision...and on one we had to contain it with 8 truckloads of sand from the local DOT because of exposures and it also had on white phosphorous as a cargo. Becarful with metal fires, even small ones, they can be nasty.

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  • 570eck
    replied
    I'm kind of surprised that people say it can't be put out by water. While I did say it was hard it is not impossible. Go to the science of fire for a minute. Fire is a tetraheydon - Heat, O2, Fuel, Chemical Reaction. Water has the ability to take away heat in this case it will take mass qaunities but can be done. Water can drown out the o2, once again mass qaunities but can be done. Now the fuel will still exist but you can stop the chemical reaction with the drowning and I mean serious amounts of water. I'm not trying to state that water is the best idea because in my opinion the class d agent is, but when all else fails do what firemen do best improvise.

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  • robo14
    replied
    My message posted 7/29/2001 will answer your question for Chryslers and Ford.

    Rob

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  • Captain88
    replied
    I have to agree with a lot of what i've heard. From past experiences the older VW engine blocks were the pain. From a few experiences with Fords they like to put magnesium in the steering column somewhere in the ignition key area. We had a Ford truck here recently which two newer guys on the attack line had their first experience with magnesium. It's definitely fireworks, and if you ever get the chance to sit back and watch someones reaction, you're gonna need someone to hold you up to keep from falling over laughing. That's just the small stuff, if you ever get the "honor" of an old VW you'll have a whole new perspective on magnesium.

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  • captstanm1
    replied
    My vote is also for magnesium or titanium

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  • ttjjss
    replied
    We have had a few car fires with the same fireworks before, we usually get the shovel out and pack dirt around it, and outshe goes,
    Tyler

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  • Mike DeVuono
    replied
    FYI....Neons blow up real nice when you hit the steering column with a stream.

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  • DON DELANCEY
    replied
    Damn staight boys and girls, its magnesium,and you can also find it in some fancy mag wheels on vehicals these days. Like 570 said the car port wasn't on fire to begin with but it sure was when they started to pour the H2O to it. Gotta be careful with this stuff especialy if its in quantities the size of wheels or engine blocks.

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  • Halligan84
    replied
    Im pretty sure that V dub had an engine when we were finished, just a nice sized hole in the trans housing. For small quantities water may accellerate the process and burn up the fuel. For a larger quantity it can be cooled with flooding quantities of water. Other metals like titanium can't. As far as FF1 demos, we do them too.. they are great for training and a run at a machine shop, which almost always HAS Class D powder and probably put the fire out. We carry Class D and have had very little success with it because fires don't always burn in neat little piles on the ground. Again, how do you "layer powder" on a vertical surface?

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  • Tanker06
    replied
    Yep, it was magnesium.
    As for the trusty VW, we had one not too long ago in a non-hydrated area of all things. We roll up, rear of the car rockin', and start throwing the wet stuff. Sure enough, the fireworks start. The LT says, "Screw this" and while we used the bumper line to keep the fire in the engine area, we used the wagon's big ol' bumper to push the VW into the conveniently located spring-fed pond. End of story!

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  • Rescue 101
    replied
    Gonzo,my friend.You won't find many in my neck of the woods.You might find the motor but Mother Corrodent has long since eaten the car.As far as those who say you can't put out a mag fire with water,I've been around long enough to know better.Depends on the quality and quantity of the magnesium but you most certainly CAN put out the fire with water.Application and patience are the keys.I don't know anybody within a twenty mile radius of us who has class d powder.Not saying it isn't there,I just don't know of any.

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  • hctrouble25
    replied
    Definitely Magnesium..but I guess you figured that out by now. I am surprised that more areas don't have their training centers showing the reaction of Magnesium to water. In my Fire 1 class we had to put out Magnesium fires with water and then Class D to show us how this compound reacts to water as compared to MetlX. Lots of sparks and it spread out when hit with water. It was crazy. The main reason we did this in school is because the county I live in is surrounded by highways and we get called to plenty of car fires and accidents. It definitely helped me to realize how much full protective gear is needed at car fires. Having this sort of training in school might be something you want to mention to your Emergency Medical Services Coordinator to look at. I would hate to see someone get hurt because they didn't take it seriously. Magnesium is some tough stuff....it will go out eventually but it might hurt some people first if you are not careful. Stay safe out there.

    [ 07-23-2001: Message edited by: hctrouble25 ]

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  • Grit
    replied
    Yeah, Ok, thanks for the hair-splitting, but reality is that you usually can't get close enough with the class D scoop to dump it on [or enough of it]. You're always gonna hit it with water first. So the water contains it [and protects you if you start to hit from far enough away] while it burns itself out. That's still how you need to handle 99% of these things. Most of us can't call the dozer brigade to push the car with the magnesium wheels off the pier anyway.

    Havin' fun with ya xeno

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  • xenophon13
    replied
    I hate to dissapoint everybody on here who thinks they can use water to put out a mag fire. It just doesn't work like that. Sure the fire went out, but it wasn't due to water being applied, it went out because it burnt itself out. I have seen mag flares continue to burn even after they have been dumped in the ocean. The only way to put a mag fire out is to use some type of class D extinguishing agent.

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  • snowball
    replied
    We usually average 1 or two veh fires a shift
    I know it sounds rediculous but I am stationed west of Fresno where they have one of the highest rates for stolen vehicles in the nation. We get so many we are known as the Car B-Que station. Enough horn blowing.
    Heres the meat and potatoes. That spark show IS magnesium. Be careful with this stuff.
    If it lands on your turnouts it will burn right through and wont stop till it cools off. It is found in the steering coulmns especially those late model vehicles with air bags. They use it to line the back part of the casing where the bag sits so when it explodes it will be propelled forward.
    Most newer models timing covers,water pumps
    A/C pumps, alternators and some radiator tanks are magnesium. You will also find custom wheels made of it. Wear your SCBA or
    at least throw down your face shield. You dont'want this stuff on your skin.
    Be careful of the late model luxury cars as they will most likely have side impact and under dash air bags.
    I'll shut up now. Be careful. C-YA

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