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Another Spontaneous Combustion fire?
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"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" - Sherlock Holmes.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum
 
Location: Utopia Planitia | Registered: February 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm not buying the methane yet. My research in confined spaces where methane or hydrogen are generated by biomass degration is that a violent (i.e. explosion) occurs, not a slow bur that we see here. I think something caught the tarp on fire and as is slowly burned it melted the container, but there was never enough prolonged heat to light the oil. Had the oil caught fire, it would have continued because as the vapors on top of the liquid ignited, the oil's temperature would have reached it's flash point thereby propulgating the flame. In short, it would have been a BIG FIRE!! Big Grin
 
Location: Somewhere in the swamp... | Registered: April 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It might have been a bunch of Boy Scouts practising rubbing sticks together to start a fire and a spark fell on the plastic cover?






 
Location: ลึก ประเทศอินเดีย | Registered: March 03, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Tilly:
It might have been a bunch of Boy Scouts practising rubbing sticks together to start a fire and a spark fell on the plastic cover?


Gotta admit, it is possible... You know how kids are these days...


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Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Static electricity from the tarp is a high liklihood for an ignition source. We don't allow them at work (I work for an explosives manufacturer). The metal frame will only conduct static from something that is in direct contact with it. Both the tarp and tote plastic are insulators, yet both can hold massive electrical charges that won't bleed away from any areas not in contact with the frame.

That doesn't tell me what ignited, only that the tarp and tote could make a spark.

I'll study the pictures some more. I'm intrigued. I'm especially glad nothing more happened, and no one got hurt.

Is there any chance this tote had held something other than straight cooking oil at some time?

Cheers,
JohnO
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Tilly:
Do they live near an Air Force Base?
Perhaps an Air Force plane was flying over and a Napalm Bomb fell off and started the fire.

I can find no google reference to the Hallmark ornament that was burning houses down in the USA or anywhere else in the world last year



My local news reported it as a tree ornament... I do remember them calling it a globe of some sort.

http://corporate.hallmark.com/...an-Snow-Globe-Recall


Looks like Frosty the Snowman isnt always so nice.


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Well since the US military destroyed its stockpile of napalm in 2001, I find that highly unlikely.

Now if it was a Mark 77 firebomb, that's another matter entirely Wink.

Such localized and specific damage to the container rules out methane in my book. I think a carelessly flung cigarette or maybe some kids playing with a lighter set it off.


Illegitimi Non Carborundum
 
Location: Utopia Planitia | Registered: February 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Murphy:
My local news reported it as a tree ornament... I do remember them calling it a globe of some sort.
http://corporate.hallmark.com/...an-Snow-Globe-Recall

Looks like Frosty the Snowman isnt always so nice.


Now that's what you call one fiery snowman!!!
"Stand back or I'll use a Frosty on you!"

That's awesome!!
-Graydon




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Location: Utah | Registered: October 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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some good theories, some off the planet, look closely at the first three photos, the metal frame of the IBC is blackened and distorted at the left of the pctures. This appears to be the point of ignition the rest of the frame does not appear to be charred? slow buning fire barely enough to support its own combustion, this area is where the roof of the IBC is not left floating in the oil, therefore burned away. some food for thought? this gives us point of ignition as to source well ?
 
Location: south australia | Registered: November 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow,

I must just say pretty amazing.

Any chance there was alcohol in the mix? Acetone?

What does one get when WVO starts to go rancid?

I did some experiments with unwashed biodiesel and an old kerosene stove that essentially created a puddle of kerosene that one would light.

Anyway, what I discovered was that with a little smoke, one could essentially burn the alcohol right out of the BD/veggie oil... then the flame would go out. leaving a puddle of liquid unburnt BD/veggie oil.

In this case, the huge reservoir of veggie oil would have kept the surface at about ambient temperature. Although, the gas above the oil could have been much hotter (like the inside of a car on a hot day).

I would assume with settling, lighter oils would go to the top, and heavier oils would sink.

--------------

Just for fun, lay a thermometer under the tarp, on top of the tank. And, perhaps hang a candy thermometer in the top few inches of oil in one of the tanks. Make sure the thermometers are capable of withstanding hot temperatures.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What does one get when WVO starts to go rancid?


Rancidity is just the oxidation of oil which releases carbon dioxide as the oil molecules are attacked by the oxygen, creating 'free fatty acids' in the process.

The sludge at the bottom, if it's rotting, is being eaten by anaerobic organisms that also release CO2 and methane gas. Doubt that the bug farts would have created enough methane gas to cause this much turmoil, though.


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Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm guessing that it gets very hot under the tarps and the top part of the tanks. 200 degrees Fahrenheit? Hot enough to volatilize some of the shorter chain hydrocarbons in the mix. Hot enough that it could become dangerous.

What about forgetting the tarps, and painting the totes with a weatherproof reflective paint.

----- CK -----
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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