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ATF Warns Emergency Response Personnel about Flame Jetting Phenomenon
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By ATF
March 6, 2013

The ATF crew wanted to share this information and below video segments for distribution on The Secret List. They have been trying to get the word out to firefighters, fire investigators and code officials. It's a not-so-well known flame jetting phenomenon that they came upon while evaluating a suspects statement. Since they've begun to get the word out, it turns out that there have been numerous flame jetting injuries that were once thought to be isolated "freak" incidents. The 17 year old victim in this particular case was the daughter of a Baltimore County Firefighter (and good friend of Fallen Firefighter, Mark Falkenhan).
If you are aware of any similar incidents, please see contact information below.

Here's a quick overview of what the ATF crew thinks is going on:
Based on the testing series conducted at the ATF FRL, several observations were made regarding the flame jetting phenomenon. Flame jetting was only observed when the container was being tilted and the vapors were pouring from the mouth of the container.It is hypothesized that initially when the container is upright, the head space above the liquid is too fuel rich (above the Upper Flammability Limit) and combustion is not supported within the container. As the container is tilted and vapors begin to pour from the container, air is entrained into the head space and the fuel rich mixture eventually falls within the flammable limits, allowing flame propagation within the container.The flame jetting phenomenon was only observed with "weathered" or evaporated gasoline (25% weathered gasoline was evaluated).No flame jetting was documented when "fresh" gasoline was poured from the container.It is hypothesized that"fresh" gasoline releases vapors more readily than "weathered" gasoline at the same temperature.Consequently, even when air is entrained into the container headspace while pouring, "fresh"gasoline releases flammable vapors readily enough that the headspace never drops below the upper flammable limit and therefore does not support flame propagation within the container.

In separate tests, flame jetting was documented with burner flames in direct contact with the mouth of the container (piloted ignition) as well as with burner flames that were several inches from the mouth of the container at the time of ignition (non-piloted ignition). The flame jet was observed extending as far as 4 m (13 ft) horizontally.The flame jet propelled ignited liquid out of the gasoline container.The propelled liquid ignited cotton clothing on a mannequin located 1.3 m (4.3 ft) away and sustained burning after the momentary flame jet self-extinguished. The entire jetting event lasted less than one second, with no observable warning signs prior to the phenomenon.When jetting did occur, there was no evidence of thermal or pressure damage to the container.The length of the flame jet was dependent on several variables, including the total quantity of liquid, the mixture ratio and the percentage that the gasoline was "weathered."Flame jets as small as 6 inches were observed in subsequent testing. If the nozzle is in place when the flame travels into the container, the container has been documented to rupture and often injures the person holding the container.

If you are aware of any similar incidents, please see contact information below.
RELATED FLAME JETTING VIDEOS:

Here's a link to the news segment that tells the family's story and explains how the flame jetting occurs:

http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/region/baltimore_county/atf-studies-fire-phenomenon-that-a-burned-baltimore-county-teenager
Here's a link to several HD videos of the flame jetting:

http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/atf-studying-and-recreating-flame-jetting-phenomenon-which-severely-burns-essex-teenager

.....ARE YOU aware of any other situations related to FLAME JETTING? If so, please contact: Adam.D.St.John@usdoj.gov


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