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TAR KETTLE FIRES: A POTENTIAL FOR CATASTROPHE

10/01/2005
By Danny CardesoI recently responded to a tar kettle fire that reminded me of how dangerous such fires can be. What started out as a simple tar kettle fire ended as a second-alarm structural assignment with one single-family house totally gutted, several backyard tool sheds destroyed, a rental box truck obliterated, and a fire company that barely escaped serious injury from a BLEVE (boiling-liquid/expanding-vapor explosion). These incidents must be approached with caution, and, barring any immediate life hazard, a defensive mode of operation is in order. This second-alarm fire is an example of the destructive potential of incidents involving tar kettles. (1) A large column of smoke is vi...

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