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From the Consumer Product Safety Commmission and National Fire
Most home fires start in living rooms. Second is bedrooms, third is
The leading cause of fatal home fire is smoking, followed by: arson,
heating equipment, electrical distribution equipment, and then children
playing with fire.
The number one cause in home fire resulting in injury, however, is
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the
leading cause of fire injuries. Cooking fires often result from
unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of
stoves or ovens.
Two of every three home heating fires in the U.S. in 1998, and three of
every four related deaths, were attributed to space heating equipment.
So, let's see. Most fires start in the living room and bedroom where
you are extremely unlikely to find any natural gas equipment. The fires
that start in the 3rd most likely place, the kitchen, aren't caused by
Of the fires caused by heating equipment most of the fires and even more
of the deaths are due to space heaters. I've never seen a space heater
that was run by natural gas, most of them are electric.
Where I grew up, in western New England, gas space heaters were (and are)
quite common. A lot of the housing stock was built before central heating
was the norm, so places had no ductwork. Putting in a gas line was a
relatively cheap retrofit - the line would feed a "gas and gas" stove (gas
cooking and gas space heating) in the kitchen, probably a gas hot water
heater also in a corner of the kitchen, and a gas space heater in the living
The kitchen stove space heater wouldn't have a fan to distribute the heat,
but the living room space heater usually did. If you wanted heat in the
bedrooms, you left the bedroom doors open so that warm(er) air could drift
in from one of the heated rooms. The heaters were thermostatically
controlled but you couldn't set a temperature - settings were marked Off, 1,
2, 3...,9, Max. The spiffier models had a glass panel in front so you could
see the fire. While visually somewhat obtrusive, they're pretty cosy.
On Tue, 01 Jul 2003 10:55:34 -0500, Bill Seurer <Bill_AT_seurer.net>
I'll buy the above statement.
Plus, at least in my area, ALL recent building explosions or fires
caused by natural gas were caused by a leak in the main OUTSIDE of the
building. The gas would typically seep thru the ground into the
basement and then became ignited.
The fault in most cases was with a contractor who didn't "call before
he dug". Sometimes the damage wasn't immediately obvious but took days
or even weeks to become evident.
A small gas leak in an appliance rarely causes a problem. It takes a
lot of gas in the air to reach the right intensity for ignition. Since
the gas companies add the smell to the gas (without the chemical
additive, it would be hard to detect), the smell becomes overpowering
long before an explosive mixture is reached.
For a fairly balanced discussion of the safty aspects of various
fuels, you'd have to add in all those folks killed via electrocution
Um, I didn't see anybody say that. In fact, I said exactly
the opposite, i.e., that the reason why it seems like there
are so many gas explosions reported in the media is because
they happen so infrequently that they're a big deal, so every
one of them gets reported.
Bill, back in the mid 90s England was building a bunch of flats
(apartments/condos) that were about 30 floors high 50 max. They were
based off of a type of construction technology that originated from a
northern part of Europe that DID NOT use natural gas. But the most
important thing is that they were so cheap to build and they went up
rapidly with the cranes because they were so simple in construction.
Big mistake. Even though it was a great idea to solve much of
England's housing shortage problems, all of these high rises were
They were built like a house of cards because every section of wall
and floor all comes together like a puzzle, and gravity plays a big
role in keeping it all together. (Some of these buildings were spared
when they updated them with reinforces to hold the sections of walls
and floors together)
This works differently then what is common in north America where we
use big columns that are the main support for the building. The outer
shell would be to keep out the elements only and didn't support
So The British went ahead and built all of these high rises and were
very exited about it because now they had cheap affordable housing for
The big mistake is that they also installed gas lines and gas
appliances into these buildings. About a month after construction of
some of the first buildings all hell broke loose when one of the
residence left their stove running with no flame (told ya so). The
single apartment at the mid section of the building exploded. Because
the place was built like a house of cards there was a domino effect.
Not the whole building fell down on itself but 1/4 of it was missing
in the corner where the apartment had exploded. There was a bunch of
deaths and fatalities.
They made another wrong decision when they decided to simply shrug it
off as an accident as if it couldn't happen again. They couldn't be
Some time later it happened again (natural gas explosion), this time a
lot worse. And I can still see in my head a poor couple who lived to
tell about it when their apartment fell down from the rest of the
building. "My husband jumped on top of me and said I love you and
that the flat (apartment) was falling."
After that they started making some big changes.
Most of the new apartment buildings where torn down deemed as unsafe.
Only one or two of them that weren't built that tall were spared. All
they had to do was put in reinforces or fasteners that held each wall
and floor section together instead of just relying on gravity to do
the job. And of course in the end they ended up removing all gas
appliances and infrastructure and installed all electric's in it's
This was a most unfortunate incident. Two incidents that didn't have
to happen. If it's comforting to anyone, at least we might learn from
these horrific experiences. The company that built the buildings went
belly under and is still in debt till this day.
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Jim Kent wrote:
Remember, never, ever let off the throttle when driving
your porche around the corner. Trailing throttle oversteer
is not to be triffled with. :)
Please reply to jsavage"at"airmail.net.
Usually only with smaller houses though. Most of the time, they
do not reach all of the way around.
Computerese Irregular Verb Conjugation:
I have preferences.
You have biases.
He/She has prejudices.
On Mon, 30 Jun 2003 14:23:20 +0000 (UTC), email@example.com
(Jonathan Kamens) wrote:
Facetious, but a ring of truth in some cases. My question is how at
least 69 people (12 dead, 57 injured) fit on the porch in question.
Assuming an average 120 pounds (probably low) per person, that's over
four tons. Even as dead weight, that's a fair load, not to mention
movement. Nobody would think of parking two compact cars on that
porch and expect it to stand up.
The porch which collapsed was on the third floor, and there were
porches on the two floors beneath it with people on them. My
understanding is that most of the people who died were people on the
lower porches who were crushed by the porches collapsing from above.
Actually, you can reduce your theoretical load by a bit -
Chicago -- Officials in Chicago say it appears most of the people who
died in a fatal porch collapse were crushed on porches below.
A dozen people were killed in the early morning collapse and as many
as 45 others hurt, some critically.
Police say as many as 50 people may have been packed onto the wooden
third-floor porch in the city's affluent Lincoln Park neighborhood,
which is usually packed with young people on weekend nights.
Officials say there may also have been beer kegs on the porch.
One woman who was in the apartment's kitchen at the time says the
party-goers were mostly friends in their early 20s. She says "the
floor just dropped out from underneath them.''
Tragic though it is, it makes you wonder why SOMEONE didn't
have the brains to clear the porch --- even in my early 20s,
I think I'd have realized that was unsafe.
But - having lived in a college town for 10 years - it does
seems as if young people have no sense of their own
mortality, and lot of them have no common sense either.
Pat (in old curmudgeon mode)
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