Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fire Glendale Road

 AFD Assistant Chief Stromgren directing the attack

Amherst Fire Department knocked down a structure fire at 214 Glendale Road South Amherst in about a half-hour this cold morning, confining the major damage to a family room addition at the rear of the house, where the fire originated, and roof.  There were no injuries.

Assistant Chief Lindsay Stromgren was on the scene directing the efforts of two original responding engines and an ambulance, that were quickly supplemented with many more pieces of heavy apparatus.

Anxious moments until firefighters confirmed nobody was in the house

Amherst police were first on the scene reporting smoke and fire on the back porch which quickly spread to the attached one family ranch.  Animal control officer Carol Hepburn also responded but no word if there were any pets impacted. 

High pressure hose getting the job done

AFD Engine 2 (Quint) on scene

Note large natural gas liquid propane tank bottom left, near where fire started.  Yikes!

Assistant Chief Don McKay (center) also on scene

AFD Chaplain Bruce Arbour (left) on scene


Dr. Ed said...

Larry, that is a Liquid Propane (LP) tank -- "natural gas" is (mostly) Methane and there are two very big differences.

First, Propane boils at -33F -- Methane boils at -258F -- much colder and memory is much more dangerous in terms of fire potential. Now there is also "Compressed Natural Gas" -- which is a GAS and not Liquid, like your Butane cigarette lighter is, but this is a tank of a LIQUID which boils to form a gas that we use for cooking, heating (and lighting).

Second, while Methane is lighter than air (remember Springfield explosion?), Propane is heavier and can go across the ground like a fog -- a quite deadly one looking for a source of ignition, but I digress.

That tank has a shut-off valve and if it is like the (smaller) 100lb ones I'm familiar with, can be shut off with nothing more than your bare hand. I'd be very surprised if the AFD didn't do this, and then as long as you keep the tank relatively cool (i.e. hose it down if needed) it really isn't as dangerous as you seem to think.

Even if it gets hot enough to build up internal pressure, it has a pressure relief valve which (hopefully will work, like the one on your hot water heater) and while you'd prefer not to have Propane gas venting into a fire scene, worst is a very large flame coming out of the tank -- it shouldn't explode because (a) there is no oxygen inside the tank, hence it can only burn after escaping the tank, and (b) with the pressure relief valve dumping pressure, the tank won't pop like a balloon. The heat is not going to be good for the brass valve which could possibly fail and vent the tank even faster, and I'd be even more worried if a significant amount of venting Propane *wasn't* burning (and hence being consumed), but that's the worst -- and only if the tank gets hot.

Now break the valve off one of these and you have a very large bottle rocket going downrange -- not to mention a lot of Propane gas and frostbite injuries to anyone hit with the liquid before it boils, but that is another story. And I know of a case where a McDonalds worker neglected to chain the CO2 tank to the wall and then knocked it over (without the protective cap on top) -- valve broke off, tank went *through* wall and McD had to pay a damage claim to a car in the parking lot. But I digress.

Spraying water around 240 volt electric lines is a tad more "yikes" than this......

Dr. Ed said...

Animal control officer Carol Hepburn also responded but no word if there were any pets impacted.

The woman deserves credit for the job she does -- this is above & beyond the call of duty.

I know of communities in this Commonwealth where you can't get the animal control officer to even respond to a suspected rabid animal -- where the POLICE can't get the animal control officer when THEY want him.

Anonymous said...

Does it seem that Dr. Ed is living several lives at once, in order to know so much, while the rest of us, being mere mortals, are, sadly, living only one?

Dr. Ed said...

Does it seem that Dr. Ed is living several lives at once, in order to know so much, while the rest of us, being mere mortals, are, sadly, living only one?

Could it be that Dr. Ed is cursed (yes, I said "cursed") with both (a) being smarter than something like 99.5% of the population and (b) the ability to file away almost everything he hears? Note that nothing I wrote was factually wrong -- AFD confirms that it (a) was a propane tank which (b) they (wisely) shut off. I neglected to mention, but know that the tank is also required to have the number 1075 on it, along with the name & contact info of the company that fills it.

Golly gee boys 'n' girls, Dr. Ed isn't wrong so we are now attacking him for being *right*???

Go Fire Truck yourselves people -- I just didn't want Larry to inadvertently start a hysteria about LP gas tanks.

And while you are at it, why don't you start a hysteria about the fact that the town is piping Hydrogen Hydroxide into everyone's home. Actually quite a bit of it, and charging no small amount of money for it as well...

And before *I* start a hysteria,
"Hydrogen Hydroxide" is H-OH, two Hydrogen and one Oxygen, i.e H2O -- and if you can't figure it out from there, go yell at Maria G.

Anonymous said...

Schooled! Dammit, Ed has schooled us all -- again!

Ed, do you wear your Mensa membership card pinned to the outside of your uniform, or do you pull it out only when a customer tries to tell you that the McRib is part of the Dollar Menu?

Anonymous said...

Ed, if you were truly smarter than 99.5% of the population one would really hope you would be smart enough to do something more meaningful with your life then spend all of your time on a blog blowing hot air about a town you don't even live in anymore. Use that supposed intelligence to better yourself or the world instead of sounding like an incessant nutbag.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed, the only thing you're better at than 99.5% of the population is being an arrogant nutcase. 100% of what you spew out to "prove" your so-called super intelligence can be found by anyone with access to a computer, library, knowledgeable friend, etc. The crap you wrote here is high school physics and a lookup of LP and NG properties; and yeah we saw that Mythbusters episode too.

Anonymous said...

I guess I must be a member of the 99.5%, because unlike Ed, I could *never* figure out how to copy and paste something from Wikipedia, then sign my name to it:

(Hang on... Maybe I'll try it with the entry for "hoist by my own petard"...)

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! Anon 11:26 is right! Click his link, read Ed's comment and then go to'Camperdownii'
Look at the first paragraph under the Notable Trees section. Quick, before Ed changes it.....or says he wrote that too! Poor Dr. Ed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed: At 1 atmosphere, Propane boils at ~44F and Methane boils at ~263F

Just sayin'

OK folks wait for it, he's going to give us some long winded description as to why his numbers were right by the assumed atmospheric pressure reduction in Amherst due to elevation and the barometric conditions during the fire.

If you're going to plagiarize Ed, at least use reputable sources.

Anonymous said...

I thought I knew Mr. Ed from somewhere, he's the "Michael Bolton clone" Clark in the Harvard Bar scene of
Good Will Hunting!\

Anonymous said...

At 1 atmosphere, Propane boils at ~44F and Methane boils at ~263F

Interesting. I honestly don't know why your numbers are lower than mine but there is one practical reality here -- if it is -44 and not -33 for Propane, why is it an emergency out in the Midwest when ambient temperatures drop to -30? Just asking....

And would you be willing to volunteer to demonstrate the difference between -33 and -44, and/or -258 versus -263 by sticking one of your hands in a liquid (any liquid) of each temperature? Or would you be willing to concede that (a) Methane is colder than Propane, and that (b) both are Effing Cold...

Anonymous said...

"I honestly don't know why your numbers are lower than mine"

Uh, maybe because you made yours up?

It's amusing to watch you blow all kinds of irrelevant horseshit out your ass, Mr. Ed, when one little citation would end the discussion immediately.

Dr. Ed said...

Uh, maybe because you made yours up?

No I didn't, A-hole, although I will admit actually looking up the Methane number because I wasn't sure.

Maybe my reference guide is the temperature at which boiling doesn't produce enough gas to be relevant as opposed to no boiling at all -- I neither know nor really care.

Drink a quart of a liquid at either temperature and -- if you live (which I doubt)-- tell me which was colder. (When something is that cold, 10 degrees either way really doesn't matter...)

Anonymous said...

Still spewing bullshit, still no citation.