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How does a fire spread? How can it get dangerous?

There can be many reasons for anything to catch fire and for the entire thing to go up in flames. But it is equally important to know how does fire spread through rooms of any building until there’s nothing left? How can you possibly anticipate that the fire that just broke out is going to take an ugly turn? All of these questions are actually pretty vague provided every situation demands different explanations, but all of them route down to the basics- How it spread and how many lives it claimed.

 

How does a fire spread?

Fire can actually spread because of a lot of reasons but these are the basic things because of which it does- Fuel, oxygen, good fire conducting materials around. So to break it down, these elements mentioned have different effects on fire that just broke out. Consider an electrical short circuit in one of the rooms of a building in question. The fire that broke in this room will take no time before it engulfs all of the rooms within. So, why does it do this? Here’s an analysis of the same:

Fire-Triangle

1. Fuel:

If there are cylinders around carrying cooking gas, expect a very big explosion along with fire spread. Fuel is not just a good conductor of heat, it is an inflammable substance. Now with these lying around, there’s always a chance of bigger explosions and then spreading fire through the materials around like- plastic chairs, curtains of polyester and the likes. So fuel containers lying around are big hazard red alarms.

2. Oxygen:

Oxygen always facilitates the combustion process. It allows the fire to spread and not to blow off. This is why we have been taught to cover people on fire with thick blankets to allow oxygen to die out. So with wind blowing and oxygen in there, fire is bound to spread in the direction the wind blows.

3. Materials:

Good conductors of heat like plastics, cloth materials, wood and the likes, the fire will just catch up from one object to the other nevertheless. This can be avoided to some extent by not using highly reactive materials just beside an electric supply. Always keep these materials a little away from electric supply, gadgets and the same.

How can it get dangerous?

This is a tricky question. But the answer lies in the very same reasons why the fire spread. Using Poly-ethane and substances made of plastic, cloth materials and polyester clothing will definitely give a boost to the fire already out there. Soon, all of what’s there in the room will catch fire and the temperature will go beyond 1,400 Fahrenheit. There will be thick smoke around that will make nothing visible and difficulty in breathing. With this thick smoke, survival becomes a challenge because all of the oxygen has been used up for combustion there.

Again, fire can get dangerous with gas cylinders lying around. Cooking gases are usually in containers properly sealed but with temperature going beyond their ignition point, the gas will ignite and let out explosions. This explosion cuts down any survival chance for people lying just beside the gas cylinders.

The best way out there is to stay away from elevators, electric boards, gadgets and gas cylinders. Crawl on the floor until you find the exit way and go away from the building on fire to avoid any further casualty from explosions and smoke.

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