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Monday, August 17, 2009

Important accidental fires covered by the media - updated

This is a list updated once in a while with the most interesting fire accidents and events in the media.

PD: Special thanks to Cecilia and Adam for providing most of the information here.

* Oct 2009 - Peat fire burning since September in the Spanish National Park Las Tablas de Daimiel in Castilla la Mancha is caused by prologued drought and clearly shows the pipe system feeding air to the subsurface fire. In Oct it was affecting 5 ha of land. The Guardian. El Pais (in Spanish), El Pais 2(in Spanish) (video).

* August 2009 - Peat fires in Indonesia have now become perennial during dry seasons Jakarta Post. See here satellite imagines of Borneo on September 15, 2009. Special report on The Economist.

* August 2009 - Los Angeles Fires out of control NYT. A wildfire raging in the mountains north of Los Angeles spread consuming thousands of acres of national forest land and threatening at least 10,000 homes. The fire was blamed in the deaths of two firefighters who were retreating from flames that overran a camp.

* August 2009 - Greek fires roar with gale force winds. BBC News(video) timesonline. About fifteen thousand residents of Athens's northern suburbs were forced to leave their homes as large areas of forest were burnt. Some residents have refused to leave, choosing to fight the fires with whatever they can lay their hands on. Nearly 2,000 firefighters and soldiers are engaging the blaze on the ground, together with hundreds of volunteers.

* August 2009 - Blame it on turbulent eddies. Timesonline (video). The attempt to break a world record by igniting 114,000 fireworks in less than a minute ended up in a 6.5s explosion witnessed by 200,000 people who lined the seafront in Bournemouth, UK. The managing director blame on the weather forecast.

* August 2009 - Report of Australia's worst peacetime disaster has called for a radical overhaul of the bushfire warning system. BBC News

* August 2009 - Fire chiefs support "fire safe" cigarettes in Scotland. BBC News. Some 44.8% of fire deaths in Scotland in 2007/08 were attributed to the smoking problem. The state of Vermont in the US introduced legislation in 2005 to ensure that all cigarettes were fire safe - and subsequently recorded no fire deaths attributed to cigarettes in 2007 and 2008.

* August 2009 - 4,000 people evacuated in Canary islands. Timesonline. Some 250 firefighters, two helicopters and five planes are involved in tackling a forest fire in island of La Palma, the cause of which is unknown.

* July 2009 - Fire claims four lives in Spain. BBC News(video) CNN. Four firefighters in Spain have been killed while trying to tackle a blaze at a nature reserve in the north-east of the country. Two firefighters also suffered injuries in the incident, the worst to occur since 11 firefighters died nearby in 2005. The fire in Horta de Sant Joan in Tarragona province had been under control but winds revived it, trapping the four firefighters. Some 8,000 hectares (nearly 20,000 acres) have already burned in Aragon, forcing the evacuation of more than 1,600 people. More than 800 Spanish troops are also fighting numerous forest fires across Spain.

* July 2009 - Firefighter dies in Edinburgh pub blaze as floor collapses. BBC News(video)

* July 2009 - Indonesia may experience more severe peat fires this year because of an extended dry season raising the prospect of choking smoke blowing across neighbouring states. Reuters.

* July 2009 - Dozens of fire-fighters battled a massive blaze at a club in Edinburgh BBC News

* July 2009 - 17,000 residents flee wildfires in Canada. BBC News(video). Wildfires near a western Canadian city have forced the evacuation of around 17,000 people. More than 150 firefighters are tackling the blazes in British Columbia, with support from 10 helicopters and eight water bomber planes.

* July 2009 - Blaze in Soho, London. BBC News (video) Timesonline (video). A fire at a four-storey office building in Dean Street, Soho, in the historic area of London. 60 firefighters and 12 fire engines attended the fire which witnesses said started in an air conditioning duct in the building.

* July 2009 - Hundreds flee as military drill sparks bushfire in Marseille. Timesonline(video).

* July 2009 - London: Three children and three adults have died after a fire swept through a tower block. BBC News and BBC News

* July 2009 - Accounts of "volcano of fire" around the town of Mojacar in Spain. BBC News(video).

* July 2009 - The derailment of a freight train carrying liquid gas triggered a
massive explosion killing at least 14 people. timesonline(video).

* July 2009 - Aircraft burst into flames on landing at an airport in northern Iran, killing at least 17 passengers. BBC News(video).

*June 2009 - Four escape firebombed restaurant: three bottles of accelerant were thrown through the window. BBC News

*June 2009 - Mexican nursery fire kills many
BBC News. At least 38 children have been killed in a fire that swept through a state-run day-care centre in north-western Mexico, city of Hermosillo. The fire appears to have started in a tyre depot.

*June 2009 Man sentenced to death penalty for 2006 California wildfires BBC News. A court has sentenced a man to death for the first-degree murder of five firefighters by starting an October 2006 forest blaze.

*June 2009 Bus fire kills 25 in Chinese city
BBC News (video). At least 25 people have been killed and 78 wounded in a bus fire in central China, state media reports.

*May 2009 Building fire in frost Antarctica
BBC News. An isolated hut in Antarctica favoured by explorer Sir Edmund Hillary has burnt down after a fuel leak during a routine inspection at minus 35C.

*May 2009 Firefighters tackle blaze in Edinburgh. BBC News. Dozens of firefighters have been tackling a major blaze in the Dalry area of Edinburgh. When the Lothian and Borders firefighters arrived, they found a two-storey warehouse well alight.

*May 2009 Fire in the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. BBC News(video). Timesonline. "Journalists working in the press room, known as "the bunker", said they had noticed a steady build-up of smoke for 20 minutes before then, but that the smoke detectors had failed to react." There's a "human behaviour in fire" observation. They were aware of smoke for 20 minutes but because nobody raised the alarm, they didn't leave the building! Would the EU increase funding in fire safety now?

*May 2009 Blaze breaks out at Fire Service College in Gloucestershire BBC News(video). "Twelve fire engines are stored in the building at the college in Moreton-in-Marsh along with 1,200 litres of diesel and 500 litres of hydraulic oil. Eleven of the fire engines have been destroyed at a cost of £116,000 each"

*May 2009 Gas Pipe Fire in Russia, 100 m high flames. BBC News(video)
BBC News
(video). "A gas pipeline has exploded in Moscow sending flames 100 metres into the air and setting fire to a nearby building. The Russian authorities have shut off the gas supply to the area and are investigating the cause of the blast"

*May 2009 Californians flee deadly wildfire
BBC News(video). "Thousands of people in California have left their homes as a wildfire threatens the town of Santa Barbara. The rapidly-moving blaze has burned nearly 3,000 acres, leading California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state of emergency. "

*May 2009 Gaming hall fire in Ukraine
BBC News(video). "10 people have been killed after a fire swept through a gaming hall in eastern Ukraine"

*April 2009 Commuter train on fire
BBC News. "A commuter train had to be evacuated during the morning rush hour after smoke was spotted coming from underneath the train."

*April 2009 Fire in the Coca-Cola building, London BBC News(video)
The Telegraph. "A fire that broke out in building in Hammersmith, west London, has disrupted bus and Tube services. A fire brigade spokesman said the blaze began in an electrical sub-station on the 6th floor of the Coca Cola building in Queen Caroline Street".

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