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Guest KarenSte

How to extinguish ethanol fire?

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Guest KarenSte

Hello - I'd like to know what type of extinguisher I should purchase that could handle an accidental ethanol fire. I know fireplace units using ethanol burners come with a lid to close off the fire, but I'd feel more comfortable knowing I had an extinguisher on hand in case an lit ethanol accidentally escaped the unit.

Thank you
Karen

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Hi,

To fight an ethanol fire you would require an AR-AFFF (Alcohol-Resistant Aqueous Film Forming Foam) fire extinguisher. Standard AFFF foam cannot tackle ethanol fires because the alcohol breaks the foam down and prevents it from creating a blanket over the liquid. The alcohol-resistant polymer in AR-AFFF stops this from happening and allows the foam to form a blanket, cooling and starving the fire of oxygen.

Hope this helps,

Shawn

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Guest russell dunham

Hi, presumably though that for the quantities of bioethanol fuel envisaged by Karen (e.g. small quantity of 1 to 2 litres in a domestic / light commercial environment, rather than on an industrial scale) that ABC dry powder would be a viable alternative?

I have not, incidentally, seen AR-AFFF extinguishers typically available for sale to the domestic market.

Also, would a Water MIST extinguisher also be a viable option for this type of risk (again for a small quantity bioethanol fire as above)?

Thank you

Russell

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Latest from BS 5306-8, the discharge of a powder extinguisher can cause a sudden reduction of visibility, which could temporarily jeopardize escape, rescue or other emergency action. For this reason water-based extinguishers should ideally be specified for use indoors so I think this rules out ABC dry powder.

However water mist maybe an answer because it has a class B rating and water is miscible with alcohol, but if there is any electricity involved I would isolate the supply before extinguishing the fire, despite the claims for the water mist extinguisher. It would be interesting to see how it would behave in such a situation maybe SafeLincs could help out here?

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With difficulty sometimes, you can find lots of video footage online of US Motorsport fires, some of the race types involve cars using a high alcohol content fuel and fires can be difficult to see - usually liberal amounts of dry powder are discharged all over the spill scene and vehicle with copious amounts of Cold Fire tipped over people and vehicles from buckets and converted water extinguishers just to make sure.

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Guest Finella

Just want to raise awareness as we jylust had a bio ethanol fire, destroyed a gazebo panel while I was trying to get the flames off my daughters legs, thankfully got her joggies off her and she's OK, but I never knew how to put the flames out, we are safe but why is the H&S part of putting spillage of this liquid out not splashed on the packaging, or the plastic bottles.  Thank fully only minor damage  to tent, but plastic rattan table was on fire and we could not get it out everything we did to extinguish the flames only put that item on fire,  after a few minutes it burned itself out but oh my god it was scary.  I have no intention of ever using it again but I still want an Alcohol Resistant Fire extinguisher in my home but I can't find any to purchase, can anyone help? 

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Powder, whilst messy will put out ethanol fires as will CO2. Water Mist is also suitable, but only on very small fires as it has a small rating.Alcohol Resistant Foam extinguishers are available, but rather expensive and only in big sizes..

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