Flame on the Bottom of Smoke

In this video, we see a fire with a thick layer of smoke low to the ground in the fire room. The moment to focus on is when the fire begins to crawl along the bottom of the smoke layer. This is a red flag as the transition from the fire being in the corner, to the room flashing is only seconds away. The only things that will stop this are substantial water application or closing the door between you and the fire. Ideally, we should never get to the point that we face this situation. A hose line should have been already cooling prior to arriving this close to the fire. However, life is not always ideal and it is vital that we be able to recognize changing conditions so we can predict what will happen and take appropriate action.

Key Points

1. We must recognize that the smoke layer is rich and only missing sufficient oxygen to ignite from the seat of the fire. This is obvious when we note that the smoke is so thick, we can’t see even a few inches through it.

2. The ignition of the smoke it often proceeded by the formation of what looks like waves on the bottom of the smoke. (These are hard to see in the video.)

3. Once the fire begins to crawl forward there are only a few seconds before the room is engulfed. You must take action to protect yourself. Flow water, close the door, or retreat.

Ian Bennett

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