Russian Fire Brigade Uses American Methods
How a Test Fire of Oil as Put Out by tbe Fire Department of a Batum Oil Company—Modern Methods Employed
IN submitting the following article. Chief Mamikonianz writes to FIRE ENGINEERING: “We have been subscribers of your magazine for three years and we certainly are much interested in all of the new methods of extinguishing oil fires. As you can see by the article enclosed in this letter, we are fighting oil fires with American apparatus and American methods, which we have learned from FIRE ENGINEERING. We hope that it will be of interest to your readers to learn that in far Russia we use your apparatus and methods in fighting fires in oil.”
Since the year 192,1 the fire department of the Azneft (the oil concern of the government of Aserbaidjan) has applied the principle of extinguishing burning oil with foam. For this purpose we use motor cars on which two tanks (the capacity of each being from 400 to 2,000 liters) are placed. These tanks are filled, the first one with an alkali solution, and the other one with an acid solution—alumina sulphate.
These solutions are delivered by two hand pumps to a special mixing box, from which the generated foam passes through a 2 1/2-inch hose and nozzle to the burning oil surface.
Improvements in System Introduced
The first test conducted with the foam solutions were successful and a range of extinguished fires including the oil pit in Biby-Eibat; oil well fountain N6 in Surachany; benzine tanks in the Black City and many others have advanced the practice of the foam-extinguishing system.
A set of improvements has been introduced and fully mechanical methods in the practice of the delivery of foam to the burning oil have been reached. Many improvements, the necessity for which was acknowledged during recent fires and conducted tests have been introduced and the practice of extinguishing fires on the oil fields is now perfect.
Description of the Test
It will be interesting to describe one of the tests conducted in Batum a year ago—August, 1925—under the direction of the writer.
A pit 84 feet long, 28 feet broad and 3 1/2 feet deep was dug and 15 tons of crude oil and 1/2 of kerosene were placed in it. At about 4:10 P. M. the oil was ignited. One minute later great clouds of smoke rose approximately 400 feet in the sky. A slight wind was blowing and at the windward side at the distance of 700 to 800 feet it was as dark as in the night.
The fire engine company of the Neftesindicats fire department came along two minutes later, and then the municipal and the volunteer fire engine companies arrived. Many thousands of inhabitants were present to look at the fire. The latter, as they recognized that it was only a test, said that it was questionable whether the results could be successful as the fire increased and it was very difficult to reach the burning surface. Lines of fire hose were laid out to the pit and the municipal fire department was invited to extinguish the fire with water, with the intention of showing that it was impossible to use water for this purpose.
Unsuccesful Efforts to Extinguish with Water
All the efforts of the municipal fire department were unsuccessful and the fire increased. The flame was so great, that not only the citizens but also the firemen said it was impossible to fight such a fire. The upper illustration shows the fire 10 minutes after the ignition. The fire was allowed to burn 15 minutes and as the flame was 50 feet high the Aznefts Fire Department started to extinguish it with foam from one apparatus designed and built by the department.
Extinguished in Two Minutes
Four minutes later, the flame was knocked down and the fire was fully extinguished. After the first test, when the oil had been cooled with streams of water and the foam was dissolved in oil, the test was repeated. By the same conditions but with a nozzle in more experienced hands the flame was knocked down and the fire extinguished in two minutes. After the second test a large amount of oil still remained in the pit.