Compact Florescent Lights

DSC04442.JPGCompact florescent lights or CFLs as they are known are supposed to be an energy efficient alternative to incandescent light bulbs. CFLs have been on the market for a few years now and have slowly been gaining acceptance by the general public. But, (and there is a “but”) recently, CFLs have been posing a problem. The problem is that some CFLs have a tendency to explode and cause a fire. The cause of the explosion is a faulty ballast. When the ballast fails, the typical failure mode is one where the ballast emits a small amount of smoke and a burned smell, then fails completely without a fire incident. Also, please be aware that these bulbs are made with mercury. If you must handle a bulb that has exploded, use gloves to protect your hands and wash your hands afterward. The CFL shown above is just one instance where the bulb exploded, ignited the lamp shade and caused damage to an antique stereo cabinet. The damage to the home was minimal although if the fire had not been extinguished quickly, the loss could have been more severe. There currently is no recall for bulbs manufactured by General Electric with the number FLE23HT3/2/10E/SW. It should also be noted that General Electric has elected to stop manufacturing CFL bulbs as of December 31, 2016. For CFLs manufactured by other companies, consumers should check with the company directly to find out if there are any recalls for the bulb(s) they have.  For the time being, LED bulbs seem to be a safer alternative to CFL bulbs.

 

 

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Fire and Appliance Safety, Part 2

In keeping with the previous post on fire and appliance safety, photographs of some items that have been encountered in previous fire investigations are posted here: the first photo shows an electric stove where the fire originated in the control panel.

                                                                                                    electric-stove-fire

The next photo shows a packaged a/c unit damaged by fire as a result of contact made between a live wire and the edge of an opening in the metal casing.

through-the-wall-unit

The third photo shows a riding lawn mower that ignited, most likely, by the owner’s failure to keep the machine clean between cuttings.

riding-lawn-mower

The next photo is of a paper shredder, also burned, because the machine was not kept clean.  Dust created by shredded paper is just as flammable as any petroleum based fuel if the right conditions exist for ignition.

paper-shredder

The propane gas regulator shown below was installed backwards so that gas was flowing into the outlet port and existing through the vent port.  Since there was no pressure regulation, the cap covering the adjustment, (located in the center) was blown off and the escaping gas ignited.  The homeowner happened to be standing nearby and was severely burned.

improperly-installed-propane-gas-regulator

The next photograph shows a line cord attached to an aquarium pump. The problem was identified as a faulty line cord that was not properly sized for the continuous operation. As a result, the line cord insulation melted and ignited.

aquarium-pump-motor0004

The following photograph shows a coffee maker that ignited and caused a small kitchen fire.  This appliance was destroyed badly enough so that the actual problem was unidentifiable.

coffee-maker-fire

The pipe flange in the next photograph cracked after having been in use for several years.  The leaking gas percolated up through a homeowner’s lawn and ignited; destroying the home as well as damaging a neighbor’s house.

cracked-gas-line-flange

Corrosion of the copper gas line resulted in the leaking of propane gas and a sudden explosion.  The explosion destroyed a residential structure.

fractured-gas-line

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