Thursday, September 19, 2013

Annual Fire Factor event demonstrates the importance of fire safety

COLUMBIA – This year’s Fire Factor, a demonstration by the Columbia Fire Department that shows how quickly a fire can start and spread in a dorm room, began with an introduction from Fire Captain John Metz in Speaker’s Circle on Monday.

“Time is the biggest enemy,” Metz announced. “Smoke alarms give you precious seconds to escape.”

The smoke alarm went off 15 seconds after a piece of paper was lit and tossed into the dorm room. In less than a minute, the room filled with flames. After about two minutes, the firefighters doused the fire, which caused thick clouds of smoke to descend upon the surrounding crowd.

During his introduction, Metz noted that although the set, which only has three walls, is meant to imitate a dorm room, the results of a real fire would be different because four walls retain the heat and causes the fire to spread even faster.
Flames consume the entire room in under one minute as smoke begins to spread out behind the set. 
 After waiting two minutes, firefighters step in and spray the set with a hose. 

Smoke still lingers among the charred remains several minutes after the fire has been put out. 

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