Wednesday, June 7, 2017

DO NOT USE GASOLINE TO START RECREATIONAL FIRES! - A message from the Darke County Sheriff's Department

The Darke County Fire Chief’s Association and the Darke County Sheriff’s Office are releasing a reminder to residents not to use gasoline to start recreational fires. This release and public service announcement comes on the heels of two incidents in the last couple of weeks in Darke County where children have been seriously burned. In both incidents the children were innocent bystanders when others attempted to start a bonfire with gasoline. In both cases the gasoline was used during the fire starting process. Once the fire was ignited it traveled the path of the vapors and liquid which led to the gasoline container in the hands of the subjects trying to start the fire. This immediately caused a panic to throw away the container. In both incidents the children were nearby when the burning containers were thrown and either were hit with the burning container or splashed with the burning gasoline liquid.

What makes gasoline dangerous for such uses is its low flash point of -45 degrees F, meaning it will put off an ignitable vapor during almost any environment in Ohio. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can easily travel to ignitable sources low to the ground. In addition gasoline vapors and liquids are readily absorbed into fabrics making clothing flammable during spills and contact with the liquid.

Gasoline should never be used to start recreational fires of any kind. There are a number of other safer mechanisms to start such fires. The safest solution is lighting ordinary combustibles like small dry kindling wood with a match. There are commercially available lighter fluids and gels that have much higher flash temperatures making them somewhat safer than gasoline. Another solution to consider would be fire starting sticks designed for this purpose. These items are often available in camping/ sporting goods sections of local retail stores. Recreational fires should be started only by adults and children should be closely supervised at all times. Camp fires should be in controlled outdoor environments utilizing approved fire pits that can better contain the fire. Fires should never be left unattended and should be properly extinguished when no longer in use.

Your Darke County Fire Chiefs and Darke County Sheriff want the citizens and visitors of Darke County to have a safe summer and be vigilant against unsafe practices that could harm you or your children.

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