HOW TO EXTINGUISH FIRES IN MINES
Specially written for FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING.
The extinguishing of fires in mines being a very difficult problem, the American-La France Engine company, of Elmira, N. Y., has devised a very efficient double-tank chemical fire apparatus, whose success has been proved beyond the possibility of contradiction. It completely supersedes the laying of pipe-lines, often miles in length—a process which takes much time, during which the fire spreads rapidly and becomes so fiercely hot as to preclude the possibility of a close approach, It has been demonstrated that, while much carbon dioxide is actually discharged into the fire, a considerable amount of the contents of the engine reaches the fire in liquid form; but, when it strikes the fire, almost no steam is evolved. The heat of the fire converts the soda in solution into the dioxide gas, which, excluding the air, kills the fire. Again, when the fire is in the “breasts” or “headings.” it may be fought there, and little or no attention need be given to the incipient fires that from time to time start in the “gob.” Carbon dioxide is heavier than the air. and, as it accumulates in the vicinity of the fire, it will spread out over the floor of the mine, and kill out any such starting fires that may have occurred, so that the men will not be compelled to beat them out with cap and coat. With the shutoff nozzle, the chemical is so husbanded that, when the fire is checked at one point, the fluid can be held for a more advantageous position, or for the next danger-point. A continuous stream, in contrast with water, is rarelv of more than a few seconds’ duration. With stich an engine as this, a tire of considerable proportions can successfully be held in check, if not immediately extinguished. Another advantage is that, while one tank has been discharged, the other mav be recharged either with mine water or any other. In this way a continuous stream, forty times more effective than water, gallon by gallon, may be discharged. Another recommendation is that there is no obscuring cloud of steam to hinder the firemen from seeing everything clearly. The good results of the use of this chemical apparatus have been attested by many railway companies and large mine operators. It is of the latest and most approved design, and is constructed by skilled labor from the best materials. The frame is of forged steel of ample strength and can be fitted by lag screws or holts to any car. The tanks are either Champion or Champion-Babcock —the latter being the more expensive. The hose basket has a capacity of 200 ft. of i-in. chemical hose and is securely mounted over the tool-box on forged steel brackets. A full equipment of nozzles, etc., is carried. The chemicals consist of ordinary 66° commercial sulphuric acid and a good grade of bicarbonate of soda, which are readily obtainable. The cost of charging an engine with two eighty-gallon tanks will be ap proximately $1.50 to $2.