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Abstract Candles can enhance décor or be a source of light. However, they can also start fires. National estimates of reported fires derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey show that candles were the heat source in an estimated average of 9,300 reported home fires annually during 2009-2013. These fires caused an average of 86 civilian deaths, 827 civilian injuries and $374 million in direct property damage per year. More than one-third (36%) of home candle fires started in the bedroom. Almost three of every five (58%) fires occurred because the candle was too close to something that could burn. Candle fires are most common around the winter holidays. Candles used for light in the absence of electrical power appear to pose a particular risk of fatal fire. Home candle fires climbed through the 1990s but have fallen since the 2001 peak. ASTM F15.45 has developed a number of standards relating to candle fire safety. Despite the considerable progress made in reducing candle fires, they are still a problem. In 2009-2013, candle fires ranked second among the major causes in injuries per thousand fires and average loss per fire. Efforts to prevent these fires must continue.

Abstract

Candles can enhance décor or be a source of light.  However, they can also start fires.  National estimates of reported fires derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey show that candles were the heat source in an estimated average of 9,300 reported home fires annually during 2009-2013.  These fires caused an average of 86 civilian deaths, 827 civilian injuries and $374 million in direct property damage per year.  More than one-third (36%) of home candle fires started in the bedroom.  Almost three of every five (58%) fires occurred because the candle was too close to something that could burn.  Candle fires are most common around the winter holidays.  Candles used for light in the absence of electrical power appear to pose a particular risk of fatal fire.  Home candle fires climbed through the 1990s but have fallen since the 2001 peak.  ASTM F15.45 has developed a number of standards relating to candle fire safety.  Despite the considerable progress made in reducing candle fires, they are still a problem.  In 2009-2013, candle fires ranked second among the major causes in injuries per thousand fires and average loss per fire.  Efforts to prevent these fires must continue.

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Abstract

Upholstered furniture has long been the leading item first ignited in terms of home fire deaths. Based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) annual fire department experience survey, NFPA estimates that during 2010-2014, upholstered furniture was the item first ignited in an average of 5,630 reported home structure fires per year. (Homes include one- and two-family homes, apartments or other multiple family homes, and manufactured housing.) These fires caused an estimated annual average of 440 civilian deaths, 700 civilian injuries, and $269 million in direct property damage. Overall, fires beginning with upholstered furniture accounted for 2% of reported home fires but 18% of home fire deaths. Smoking materials remain the leading cause of these fires and associated losses.

 

 

NFPA Research

Abstract

Upholstered furniture has long been the leading item first ignited in terms of home fire deaths.  Based on data from the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) annual fire department experience survey, NFPA estimates that during 2010-2014, upholstered furniture was the item first ignited in an average of 5,630 reported home structure fires per year.  (Homes include one- and two-family homes, apartments or other multiple family homes, and manufactured housing.)  These fires caused an estimated annual average of 440 civilian deaths, 700 civilian injuries, and $269 million in direct property damage.  Overall, fires beginning with upholstered furniture accounted for 2% of reported home fires but 18% of home fire deaths.  Smoking materials remain the leading cause of these fires and associated losses.

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Fact Sheet

Automotive Battery Explosions By Charles C. Roberts, Jr., Ph.D., P.E.

As shown in Figure 1, the typical automotive battery, of lead/acid construction, is an electrochemical container that produces voltage, which causes electrical current to flow to various components in an automotive vehicle. An outer polymer case (high density polypropylene) acts as a container for an electrolyte (sulfuric acid), six cells and lead plates. Each cell delivers 2.1 volts with a total voltage of 12.6 volts, at full charge.  Vents are installed at the top of the battery to vent gasses formed during the normal charging cycles.

Figure 1

During the charging cycle, hydrogen gas is generated and accumulates in the head space above the electrolyte level, prior to venting. Hydrogen gas has a wide range of explosive limits in air, ranging from 4 to 72% hydrogen in air and is easily ignited by a flame or spark. If the hydrogen is ignited inside the battery, it typically blows off the top of the battery case, showering sulfuric acid in the immediate vicinity along with fragments of the battery case. The explosive energy generation is so rapid that the vents cannot relieve the pressure in time to prevent an explosion.

Figure 2 is a view of a two year old battery that exploded, causing personal injury from acid burns. This occurred when a standby generator was starting during its normal maintenance test cycle. The top of the battery was blown away, suggesting that hydrogen was ignited inside the battery.  Figure 3 is a view of a battery fragment that was found imbedded in the ceiling of the building that enclosed the generator.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 4

Inspection of the battery shown in Figure 2 revealed that one of the intercell connectors (Figure 4) was loose and corroded. A loose connection inside a battery can result in an electrical arc jumping across the gap, igniting the hydrogen.  In this case, the loose connection was determined to be a result of a manufacturing defect.

Other internal explosive ignition conditions may exist that are not related to a manufacturing defect:

  • A conductive bridge may be formed between two plates as a result of low electrolyte levels. When a high current demand is placed on the battery, it can arc, igniting hydrogen gas and initiating an explosion. This is a result of improper battery maintenance where the electrolyte level should be monitored periodically and lost electrolyte replaced.  Maintenance free batteries have a hydrometer that measures the specific gravity of the electrolyte (an indicator of the concentration of the electrolyte and hence, the electrolyte level) and indicates whether or not a battery should be replaced.
  • External ignition sources often manifest themselves in the form of loose battery cable connections or a poor connection with battery charger clamps that generate an electrical arc. Jump starting vehicles with dead batteries can result in electrical arcs at the dead battery terminals if the last set of clamps is attached to the dead battery. Recommended procedure is to attach the jumper clamps to the dead battery first and then to the live battery.
  • Battery explosions have occurred as a result of tools being placed between the battery terminals. Some individuals test a battery by placing a screw driver across the terminals to see if an arc jumps, revealing whether the battery is supplying electrical energy or not. This can result in a battery explosion since the current through the screw driver is not regulated, can be very high and generate an electrical arc, causing an internal or external explosion.
  • Corrosion, which can cause electrical resistance and a possible arc ignition source, may develop at battery terminals as shown in Figure 5, which also illustrates a loose or improperly secured battery clamp.

Figure 5

As in most investigations, retention of the evidence is desirable if subrogation is anticipated. In battery explosion losses, fragments may be found scattered throughout the scene and imbedded in the building structure. Collecting these pieces helps the technical analyst determine the cause of the explosion. It is encouraged to have the battery analyzed in a timely manner to reduce the effect of corrosion, which can obscure evidence.

From Out of the Abyss...

This week’s article from the past is titled Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted and was written by Benjamin Horton, CPCU, who was President of the National Adjuster Traing School in Louisville, Kentucky..  It is taken from the Decembe 1968 Vol. XVI No.5 issue.

Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted 

In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.

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NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations plays a fundamental role in fire and explosion investigations. A new edition of NFPA 921 is scheduled to be published in 2014. For years, this document has played a critical role in the training, education and job performance of fire and explosion investigators. It also serves as one of the primary references used by the National Fire Academy to support its fire/arson-related training and education programs. It is imperative that investigators understand the scope, purpose and application of this document, especially since it will be used to judge the quality and thoroughness of their investigations.

NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations plays a fundamental role in fire and explosion investigations. A new edition of NFPA 921 is scheduled to be published in 2014. For years, this document has played a critical role in the training, education and job performance of fire and explosion investigators. It also serves as one of the primary references used by the National Fire Academy to support its fire/arson-related training and education programs. It is imperative that investigators understand the scope, purpose and application of this document, especially since it will be used to judge the quality and thoroughness of their investigations.

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IAAI - ITC 2015

IAAI President Peter Mansi welcomed everyone to the International Association of Arson Investigators 66th International Training Conference in Chicago, Illinois this past week, May 18th – 22nd.  Around 600 attendees were on hand for a great schedule of classes during the week.  Approximately 40 of those attendees were from Central America countries requiring translation throughout the week.  CCAI Director Robert Rullan gave a presentation on “CSI” as part of the training as well as assisting with the translation needs of the students.  

On opening day, CCAI’s 1st VP, Dale Feb, taught a four-hour class titled “Hearth Products Ignition Source or First Fuel Ignited”.  CCAI Member Steve Carmen taught two two-hour classes; “Math for Fire Investigators” and “Elevated Fire Origin Research”.  CCAI Member John DeHaan joined up with Instructors Chris Connealy and Kelly Kistner in presenting “Arson Convictions:  Reviewing the Science – The Texas Experience”.  Jamie and Cameron Novak were on hand to set things on fire in "Burn to Learn".  Rounding out the week was Mike Bryant teaching "Investigative Interviewing for Fire Investigations. Many other instructors joined in the training and in all, four separate tracks of education were presented throughout the weeklong conference.

CCAI President Eric Emmanuel represented the CCAI Chapter at the “Presidents Reception” on Sunday night, again during “Opening Ceremonies” on Monday Morning, at the “Chapters Presidents Luncheon” on Tuesday, during the IAAI “Annual General Meeting” on Tuesday afternoon and at the “Awards and Installation Banquet” on Tuesday night.  He was seen throughout the week engaging different individuals in conversations and promoting CCAI.

IAAI hosted a Vendor Room where approximately 30 different companies set up display booths and provided valuable information to the attendees.  A very active Spousal Program visited some of the many sights and attractions that Chicago has to offer.  Monday was spent at the Local Boutiques and Hummel Museum.  On Tuesday, the highlight of the week, they visited the Chicago Fire Academy and Fire Museum.  Wednesday and Thursday were spent exploring many of the hot spots around the “Windy City” including the Navy Pier, Sky Deck Chicago, Millennium Park and the Cloud Gate Sculpture, Art Institute Museum, Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium.  The week included lunches at the Hard Rock Café, Rainforest Café, and many of Chicago’s authentic hot dog and pizza restaurants.  Before departure on Friday, the group held a farewell breakfast at the hotel.  Approximately 28 people participated in the Spousal Program.

During the IAAI “Annual General Meeting”, elections were held.  Dan Heenan (Nevada) was sworn in as President, George Codding (Colorado) was sworn in as 1st VP and Scott Bennett (Ohio) was elected as 2nd VP.  Darrell Sanders (Louisiana), William T. Moreland (Florida) and Kevin Crawford (Colorado), Chris Van Vleet (Kansas) were elected to the serve three-year terms on the IAAI Board of Directors.  Joe Sesniak (Arizona) was elected to serve a three-year term on the IAAI Foundation Board of Directors, and David Snead (Texas) was reelected as president of the Foundation.  Immediately following the election, nominations were opened for 2016.  CCAI Board Member Robert Rullan was nominated to run for a Director Position next year.

CCAI members Troy Morrison, Jim Allen, Kathryn Varner, Don Perkins, Dennis Fields, Bill Kilpatrick and his wife Debbie, Tom Fee and others made a great showing for California Chapter 22.

Superior Court of Arizona Maricopa County - Under Advisement Ruling

UNDER ADVISEMENT RULING

The Court has had under advisement Plaintiff Barbara A. Sloan’s (“Sloan”) Rule 60 Motion.  Having read and considered the briefing and having heard oral argument, the Court issues the following ruling.

Ruling Document 

CoScentrix Expands Recall of DD Brand Candles; Exclusively at Hobby Lobby

Description

This recall involves four types of DD branded single-wick candles: Mason jars in 5- and 12- ounce sizes, decorative jars in 10- and 20-ounce sizes, 13-ounce coffee tins and 13-ounce jars with a holiday theme. The candles were sold in a variety of fragrances and colors.

The 5-ounce Mason jars are 2.25 inches wide by 3.75 inches high. The 12-ounce Mason jars are 3 inches wide by 5 inches high. The jars have gray metal lids. The DD logo and the word Handcrafted are in raised letters on the front of the jars. The candle fragrance and size are printed on a hang tang attached to the mouth of the jars.

The 10-ounce decorative jars are 4 inches wide by 3 inches high. The 20-ounce decorative jars are 5 inches wide by 4 inches high and hold a candle. The jars have gray metal lids with the DD logo in raised letters on the top. The candle fragrance and size are printed on a rectangular label on the front of the jar.

The 13-ounce coffee tins are 3.5 inches wide by 4 inches high and have a silver metal lid. The candle size and fragrance are printed on a label that wraps around the outside of the tin.

The 13-ounce holiday candle jars are 3.75 inches wide by 4 inches high and have silver metal lids with the DD logo in raised letters on the top.  The DD logo inside a floral wreath, the fragrance and size are printed directly onto the front of the jar in silver.

See the full details at CPSC

NHTSA Recall - Sub-Woofer Electrical Short

Summary:

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain model year 2011-2012 Toyota Avalon vehicles manufactured February 9, 2010, to October 22, 2012.  In the affected vehicles, the sub-woofer speaker located in the trunk may experience an intermittent electrical short which may cause damage to the integrated circuit (IC) in the audio amplifier.  In some cases, the damaged IC may allow a constant electrical current flow to the sub-woofer.

See the full details at NHTSA

NHTSA Recall - Exhaust Pipe Leak may Result in Fire

Summary:

Nova Bus (Nova) is recalling certain model year 2007 LFS transit buses manufactured January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007. In the affected vehicles, the band clamp on the flex pipe between the turbocharger and the diesel particulate filter may be incorrectly located allowing the exhaust pipe to leak hot exhaust gases onto nearby components.

See full details at NHTSA

More Articles...

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