Fire. Something about fire touches our brainstems…both good and bad! Uncontrolled fire is terrifying and deadly to be sure. But the controlled burning of wood at a campfire or in a fireplace in your home almost can’t be beat, to my mind! For that very reason, a fairly common amenity to houses nowadays is the gas log fireplace insert.
When not installed properly, these logs will generate soot. These soot particles can leave the fireplace and meander. All. Over. Your. House. (more…)
Equipment and appliances supplied with fuel gases like natural gas, propane and butane are a common and convenient part of most of our lives. Such devices as gas grills and ranges, ovens, furnaces, space heaters and water heaters usually perform without incident. However, when they malfunction the potential for incidents such as fires and explosions, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and burn injuries may occur. These incidents may be due to design and manufacturing defects in the product, or improper installation or operation of the device.
Prior to becoming a forensic engineer, I spent many years in industry designing fuel gas fired equipment. This included designing gas grills, commercial cooking appliances, and large industrial systems. I learned a lot about the safe use of natural gas and propane. Once I entered the forensic engineering field, that experience helped me in evaluating fires involving natural gas and propane equipment and piping systems. One such area that I have found particularly interesting are fires involving Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST).
CSST is a material used to plumb fuel gas inside structures. It is used as an alternative to traditional black steel pipe or copper tubing. The stainless steel tube of CSST, in certain circumstances, will perforate when subjected to electrical arcing, including that due to local lightning strikes. The escaping fuel gas from these perforations has obvious implications as to causing fires. (more…)
The cause of an explosion can result from a chain of events in some cases. In many residential explosions and resulting fires, the facts can point to a number of potential causes. Certified fire and explosion investigators, like Warren engineers, have the experience and training to uncover and evaluate scenarios with high degrees of certainty. In some cases, like one residential explosion we investigated, the chain of events can start days before the loss. (more…)