Fiery Message on Gasoline Storage

Fiery Message on Gasoline Storage


Gasoline can (arrow) and hot water heater cooperate for ignition.Ignition occurs in mockup garage corner, showing gasoline hazard.Flames reach skyward shortly after ignition.Fire fighters advance line to extinguish demonstration of gasoline storage dangers.

Faced with major problems of gasoline storage at home during the gasoline crunch, Los Angeles City and County Fire Departments joined in a media event to illustrate potential dangers to the public.

Dick Friend, who recently rejoined the L.A. County as fire information officer, said that field units reported homeowners storing extra gasoline in home garages, using every type of container from milk containers to bathtubs.

“Obviously, it was an explosive situation,” Friend said. “Our chief, Clyde Bragdon, and City Chief John Gerard, wanted to demonstrate to the publichow acute the dangers were.”

Demonstration planned

Friend and his associates came up with the idea of building a demo “garage” at L.A. County’s East Los Angeles training center.

The County Construction Division then built a mockup garage.

Most of the Los Angeles television stations sent crews, as did newspapers.

A 1-gallon gasoline can was pulled over with a long string and within three seconds, the hot water heater in the “garage” caused ignition. Within 50 seconds, most of the “garage” was involved in fire.

The photographers and cameramen had a field day as the creative fire information officers put on their show and Chiefs Bragdon and Gerard were available to tell the media representatives of the dangers of improperly storing gasoline at home.

Fire information specialists also took their message on gasoline storage dangers to radio stations and weekly newspapers.

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