The O2 Bomb....

What would you do?
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

The O2 Bomb....

Postby guitarmedic87 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:44 pm

I just wanted to pass along a little experience we had a few weeks back.

We get dispatched to a fully involved structure fire, upon arrival the single storey building is fully involved, flames out of all windows, through the roof etc.. This residence is the very last house on a small dirt road. The home owner is no where to be found, not sure if they are accounted for or not but at this point it doesnt really matter because of the extent of the fire. So basically its a simple surround and drown situation. We basically just nicely get started applying water when a very small hiss noise started coming from the AB corner of the house. The hissing lasted just long enough to notice, maybe 5 seconds, then all of a sudden KABOOM, I was standing talking strategy with the chief, probably 70ft away from the A wall, it was just like someone hauled off and punched me right in the chest, it knocked the wind out of me and made me take a step back. I just looked at the chief, "what the hell was that, we need to do a headcount"... Anyway a quick 360 had everyone accounted for, we still had no idea what it was but we definately kept our distance for the remainder of the call. During overhaul I was digging through the rubble when I came across a cylinder. It was a "D" sized oxygen cylinder that had the top completely blown off of it. We had no idea that the person living there was on home oxygen. We never did find the valve, just glad we didnt find it impaled in someones chest.

That night I went into work and was talking to the paramedics who were doing the fire standby, they were sitting in the rig, parked probably close to 300m's away and they said after they heard the explosion it was like someone walked past the rig and started pushing on it from side to side. Our dispatcher who was sitting in the station, which has got to be close to 1/2km away straight through the bush said all the windows shook in the hall. Incredible amount of power from a small oxygen tank.
I spent some time looking at the 02 tanks when I got into work, they are not designed with anykind of relief valve so when it gets super heated the gas as no where to expand. All that can happen is the catastrophic failure of the cylinder... Scary stuff..

So the lessons learned... If you get to residence, with placcards stating Home 02 is in place try to find out where those cylinders are and keep them cool if at all possible.. I think Home 02 companies need to do a better job making sure residences are properly placcarded that have 02 and people with the 02 need to leave those placcards in place. This residence had no placcards.

As anyone else had any experience with Home 02 and fires?..We had one other stucture a few years back that had a home 02 generator in the basement, we were able to contain the fire to one room, but it scares me to think what would have happened had the fire reached the basement..
Last edited by guitarmedic87 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 260
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby telesquirt » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:02 pm

Glad everyone was okay gm87, I found a youtube vid of a D cylinder going off inside a fully involved ambulance. copy and paste into your browser. The main explosion is at 1:10 minutes.
Take care,
Last edited by telesquirt on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added time
"This is my swing set, and this is my sandbox. Thats where I saw the Leprechaun........ He tells me to burn things."

---Ralphie Wiggums

User avatar
Posts: 2238
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby FLASHOVER05 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:22 pm

An ambulance here struck a moose while en route to hospital, the occupants all safely left the vehicle when it caught fire, the oxygen cylinders exploded as the first responding engine arrived.

The result of the explosion took the roof completely off the truck
How the hell did I end up here?????

Posts: 444
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby Rescue78 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:56 pm

This one near Durham College in Oshawa in October.
Most people train until they do it right.
Professionals train until they can't do it wrong.

Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby guitarmedic87 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:27 am

[QUOTE=Rescue78;190478]This one near Durham College in Oshawa in October.

Yup.. Thats exactly what it was like at the house.. I never would have thought that a single D would have that much force.. The video could have been "M" cylinders exploding too. Our new rigs are coming with the capability to carry two "M" cylinders aswell as 4 "D" cylinders... Oh and I've had two rigs catch fire on me while at work, never had any 02 explosions but next time it happens I'm not sticking around to watch.

User avatar
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby GreddyHovs » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:41 pm

Thanks very much for sharing, as that is something very valuable to keep in mind when responding to that kind of situation.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests