"I thought you all might be interested in this article. I found it scary as to future problems with handling & useing E85 Ethanol in UNmodified cars. Best to stay away from it unless your hot rod has been modified for E85!!" Carl Stronberg
Ethanol Fire Warning
Shops warned about engine fires sparked by ethanol use new extinguishers needed for ethanol-based fires
Publish date: Jul 21, 2008
By: James E. Guyette
A tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of ethanol caused this fire after it overturned near
Baltimore. (Photo courtesy of International Association of Fire Chiefs) Repairers are being urged to prepare themselves for a heightened risk of engine fires stoked by motorists filling up with ethanol-laced gasoline when their vehicle is not properly outfitted to safely burn this type of fuel. An added hazard associated with ethanol's rising popularity as an environmentally correct alternative stems from a molecular makeup that differs from traditional gas. The grain-based additive is water-soluble while petroleum is not — oil and water don't mix — and many local fire departments still do not stock the special type of foam needed to extinguish an ethanol blaze.
Firefighting foam is tested on an ethanol fire. (Photo courtesy of David White)
Just as gas and ethanol don't behave the same when set afire, E-85 and other ethanol blends can seriously damage a car's key engine components unless the vehicle is specifically designed to be ethanol-friendly. Yet people with older, non-ethanol vehicles are nonetheless pulling up to E-85 pumps in an ill-advised attempt to abate airborne fuel pollutants.
While ecologically concerned drivers may feel they are doing the right thing, in reality this strategy is fraught with potential dangers — especially when these now-faulty engines are fired-up within the confines of a repair facility filled with other vehicles.
"You're going to have a lot of car fires in shops because of this," warns firefighting consultant Bob Lorenz, who teaches the topic at the College of DuPage in Illinois.
"Vehicles that are not equipped for E-85 do not have the proper o-rings and gaskets to handle the increased alcohol content of the fuel," explains Todd Hoffman, executive director of Scene of the Accident Inc. and ABRN's 2006 Leadership Award honoree. "This causes swelling of the o-rings and deterioration of the gaskets, which leads to fuel and oil leaks. It also causes overheating of the catalytic converter."
Collision shop fire safety advice
"It will eat the hoses and o-rings up and it will leak all over the place," concurs consultant David
White, publisher of Industrial Fire World magazine. Firefighting experts are loudly sounding the alarm about ethanol, particularly in regard to public safety risks posed by overturned E-85 tankers and the foam issue; they are equally concerned over lesser blends now used in more than half of the U.S. automotive fleet."Actually, we are all using gasohol," says Hoffman. "All gas today has between 10 percent and 15 percent ethanol in it."
The ethanol problem is especially acute in Corn Belt states where E-85 is more readily available to consumers eager to aid the environment. First responders expect the wrong-fuel-in-the-wrong-vehicle situation to become more widespread as E-85 gains popularity.
A Kansas firefighter who has taken several of Hoffman's crash-site response training seminars filed these disturbing observations: "I sat across from a station here in Topeka that was selling E-85 and watched people; you would not believe the older cars that are filling up with it. I think we are going to start to see some of these older cars having fires.""The public is totally unaware of the problems that will be created when they use E-85 in a vehicle that is not designed to run it," Hoffman says. White encourages every repairer in the nation to start inspecting each vehicle coming into your bays."Open the hood and look at the engine. If there's ethanol running all over the place you have a problem. The poor guy is going to pull a torch or saw out, cause some sparks, and then you'll have a fire."Climatologists canning corn environmental stewardship If this brief pre-inspection procedure is too much trouble, says White, "Just call your insurance company because you're going to get a new shop."
Fulminating over foam the ethanol vs. petroleum conundrum carries throughout the nation's fuel chain. Because of the chemical differences, ethanol is typically transported by rail or tanker truck because it can't be moved through regular petroleum pipelines. Ditto for the U.S. Coast Guard, which is working on developing alternative methods for containing ethanol spills; ethanol's water solubility means that a floating boom can’t skim it off the surface of a lake or river as with regular gas and oil. This point can be proven at your kitchen table. Sit down with a jug of fruit punch and your favorite brand of grain alcohol. Mix them together in a glass and you create a refreshing, albeit potent "hairy buffalo" cocktail. Plop a droplet of oil into another glass of punch, and watch it float on the surface; you can see how oil and water won't mix."E-85 is what is called a 'polar solvent,' so it will mix with water," Hoffman says. "We did some testing and found that when we diluted E-85 by 500 percent with water it still burned. So now you will have shops that wash out tanks, wash out spills and wash them down the drain. Even heavily diluted E-85 is flammable and even explosive in the right environment. So when you spill one gallon of E-85 and wash it down with five gallons of water you've created six gallons of flammable liquid."The same solubility situation afflicts the firefighting foams that have long been used to subdue petroleum-fueled fires. The alcohol content of ethanol essentially eats through the bubbles contained within the foams. This reaction snuffs out the foam's crucial oxygen-smothering capabilities and it can allow the wafting vapor to ignite in a ball of flame.
You definitely don't want this phenomenon unfolding inside a repair shop.
Aqueous film-forming foam (A-FFF) was developed by the U.S. Navy in the mid-1950s to combat jet fuel fires on aircraft carriers. Since then it has been the foam of choice among fire departments for battling blazes related to petroleum-based products.
Unfortunately, A-FFF doesn't work on burning alcohol-based liquids, such as ethanol.
"You can put A-FFF on a fire until doomsday and it won't go out," says Lorenz, the instructor at DuPage. "A straight foam will not put out that fire, and we're going to get someone killed" if the problem is not addressed on a nationwide scale.
Alcohol-resistant aqueous film-forming foam (AR-AFFF) was created in the mid 1970s. As the name implies, it does a bang-up job on ethanol fires — yet it remains in comparatively short supply among the firefighting community because up until now there hasn't been a whole lot of need and it costs 30 percent more than A-FFF. A lot of budget-minded local fire departments don't have it readily available, according to Lorenz and publisher White is heavily involved with the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) comprised of major organizations dealing with alternative fuels, scientific testing, bulk fuel distribution and storage along with first responders and key fire service organizations. A blind test conducted by the EERC reviewed the various foams on the market, confirming the virtues of AR-AFFF and illuminating shortfalls of A-FFF and other firefighting foam products.
"Many of the local fire departments are waking up to the need for AR-AFFF," White reports. Still, not all of them are aware of ethanol's potential danger.
"The collision shop (and mechanical repair center) is going to be at the tail-end of the food chain" as a high-profile area of public safety readiness, says Lorenz. He suggests that you contact your local fire department: "Tell them, 'I'm working with ethanol in here,'" and that AR-AFFF is a necessary response material to have on hand. "Make sure the department is prepared."
Mindful of the risk sparked by large-scale roadside tanker fires, the EERC is striving to change the federal hazardous material pleading rules, which currently call for a single overall category for gasoline rather than a desired "E" designation for ethanol.
Fire in the shop
Should an ethanol blaze break out in your shop, "An ABC fire extinguisher will put the fire out, but these dry chemical extinguishers do not stop vapors from being released — so there is a greater chance of the fire re-igniting when the vapors reach an ignition source or hot metal," Hoffman cautions."E-85 has a wider flammability range than gasoline and a lower ignition temperature; it will ignite faster and catch fire in a wider range of concentrations in the air."
The experts advise that vapors from regular gasoline also can re-ignite with similar vigor. By all
accounts, it is extremely unwise to assume a fire of any origin — be it gas, ethanol or whatever — is fully extinguished and thus safe to instruct everyone to get back to work once the excitement has died down.
"The guy who turns his back on it is going to get bit," warns Lorenz. It is imperative to immediately call 911 and clear the building, even if you think you have a full compliment of fire extinguishers.
"You need to get the fire department rolling," he stresses. "Make the assumption that all gas contains ethanol."AR-AFFF fire extinguishers, although found in other countries that have a higher ethanol presence, have not yet hit the U.S. market, according to Lorenz.
Until they become available, an ABC/dry chemical model will have to do. Lorenz recommends that every shop should have at least one 30-pound ABC extinguisher properly positioned for an emergency. A wheeled 100-pound (or bigger) apparatus is a must for a larger operation, he said. These units are more expensive, but "it's a lot cheaper than burning down your shop," Lorenz says. A 30-pounder provides only 30 seconds of discharge; you get about a minute-and-a-half with 100- to 150-pounds of material.
Don't forget, "you can't flood it out with water," says Lorenz, describing how he knocked down vehicle fires prior to the advent of ethanol. When serving as the first firefighter in, he would use his water hose to blast away at the upholstery and other flammables. "Then I look down, and I'm standing in a pool of burning liquid," Lorenz recounts. The second firefighter on the scene is dragging in the foam line to safely finish the job. And that is why having the correct firefighting foam is so important.
STOLEN CAR ALERT
Stolen 7/8/08 between 2:30 and 3:30 pm from Westminster Mall in Westminster California. This car belongs to my wife's cousin. I took it to the muffler shop for him today and stopped at Sears on my way home. It was gone when I came out. He got this car when he was a senior in high school 23 years ago.1957 Chevy Belair sport coupe. California black plate number PLL 062.VIN VC57L197166 Matador red with black interior.Lowered in front with Super Bell disc brakes. American Torque Thrust wheels with Kelly tires.Call Gordon. H (562)598-1987 C (562)715-7408
You guys have to see this. A special SHOUT OUT to Kevin @ Live Car Shows for starting the stolen car page on his website. Dude, you rock! I love you, man!
Bust of classic-car theft ring reveals new trend
By Jason Kandel, Staff Writer
With its polished chrome, whitewall tires and gleaming black-and-white paint job, the classically restored 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air drew lots of attention.
And among admirers of the $150,000 beauty was Jerry Thompson - who police say made off with the Bel Air and at least six other classic autos in the San Fernando Valley and Santa Monica areas over the past several months.
On Friday, police arrested Thompson and found the stash of classic vehicles in what law enforcement officials said is just the latest in a growing number of classic-car thefts in the region.
Ownership of the Bel Air was tracked to John Perren, who leased the vehicle to rapper Mack 10. Perren declined to comment Tuesday. Mack 10, whose name is Dedrick Rolison, could not be reached for comment.
But so many thefts of classic cars have been occurring that police have created a network on the Web - at www.wsati.org - that posts fliers of stolen classic cars as part of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators.
"It's been coming to light so much that we had to start a Web site," said Jess Corral, supervisor of the West Taskforce for Regional Auto Theft Prevention, a county sheriffs' team of state and national investigators. "There's a lot of money involved."
The site, www.livecarshows.com, put up a notice telling classic-car owners about the rash of thefts across Southern California, and it posts fliers of stolen classics nationwide.
Officials said classic vehicles are targeted because they are easy to sell overseas and are difficult to track - they lack the more sophisticated and expensive security systems in current automobiles. "Eight to 10 years ago, people in Japan wanted lowriders," said Richard O. Knapp, legal counsel for the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter. "So they'd pop them in containers and ship them overseas. It creates a marketplace. That's what people like. A lot of these are almost a for-order situation."
The case involving Thompson began to develop March 12, when a victim reported his 1972 Chevrolet truck had been found in a garage behind a house in the 10600 block of Stanwin Avenue in Mission Hills, police said. They said a friend of the victim made the discovery while at the house to trade a classic car chassis for the truck.
"He thought he was going to do a swap," said LAPD Detective Ron Stilz, a Van Nuys Division auto-theft investigator. "Then he saw it and said, `Hey, I helped my buddy build this truck.'
"He stepped out and called his buddy and said, `Hey, I know where (your truck) is."'
Stilz contacted the TRAP team - made up of sheriff's deputies, DMV officers and LAPD detectives specifically tasked with combating vehicle thefts across L.A. County.
Stilz, Mission Division officers and the team served a search warrant at the location March 13 and recovered the truck, which was valued at $25,000.
Police also found a stolen 1970 Chevy Chevelle worth $100,000, a door to a vehicle that had been stolen and a trailer that the suspect appeared to have used to tow stolen vehicles, Corral said.
Police also seized two other vehicles and evidence of more stolen vehicles, Corral said.
Police tracked Thompson, 42, to a location on Community Street in North Hills but couldn't find him. After days of surveillance, police on Friday followed him to a house on Haynes Street in Van Nuys.
Later that day, police took Thompson into custody at the house, where they also recovered four other cars including a 1971 Chevy pickup truck worth $20,000 reported stolen from Van Nuys in January, a 1991 Honda Accord worth $3,000 reported stolen from the Foothill area in December, and a 1965 Buick Skylark stolen in Santa Monica.
They also discovered the 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible worth $150,000 that had been reported stolen from the Devonshire area of the Valley last month.
Police described Thompson as a career criminal with a long history of auto theft and other convictions.
Corral said he was the ringleader of a classic-car theft ring and had a truck loaded with tools used to steal cars.
"Obviously, he's been getting away with it for a while," Corral said. "We're touching just the end of this. We don't know how many cars he's actually sold."
Thompson, whose listed occupation was handyman, is being held at the Los Angeles County Jail on a charge of grand theft auto.
Corral said for many classic-car owners, theft of the vehicles takes an emotional toll. "These guys put their money into it. They build it themselves, save money - all sweat and mechanics in it. It's their hobby."
Kris Shields, 46, of Granada Hills said his artesian turquoise 1965 Chevy El Camino was stolen last month. He said he had had the car - with a dual Demon carburetor and 15-inch Rally Rims - since 1982, and it had become like part of the family.
Subject: Another Stolen Classic Chevy
Hi Bob- Please post this in the next mailing of the 57-56-55 CHEVY LIST. This is becoming an epidemic here in SoCal. I'm certain there is a "Gone in 60 Seconds" type theft ring going on here. I'm sending this to you and every classic Chevy owner I know. Please contact Jim directly if you have any leads. Thank you! Jerry Eckler's CA CCC State Rep L.A. Classic Chevy Club President
My Car was stolen at the Great Indoors parking lot on Sunday, the March,9th between 4:15 and 4:45. at the Empire Shopping Mall in Burbank CA. My car was a 1955 210, painted tan and white. It had a 502/550 HP. 400 tranny, small hubcaps and beauty rims. Very stock looking and sedate in appearance. Cloth interior, antique Auto Meter gauges and tack. Three inch exhaust all the way out, two seat belts in front, none in the rear seat. Electronic ignition so the battery is in the trunk next to the spare tire. The drivers side mat has a Chevy bow tie sewn into it. That is about it. Your thoughtfulness in helping me is very much appreciated. The fact of the matter is that this car and others are out of the country in a matter of hours or cut up and sold off. It is a shame. Again, thanks for the help
CONTACT: KRIS SHIELDS, OWNERHOME #: (818) 831-4067 CELL # (805) 368-8947Artesian TurquoiseRecently repainted engine compartmentQMP built 350 small block671 The Blower Shop BlowerDual Demon CarburetorCalifornia Performance Transmission 200R415" Rally RimsLos Angeles Police Department – Devonshire Division – (818) 756-8285Police Report #081708402
1967 CAMARO CONVERTIBLE SS350 BADGING RED EXTERIOR WITH BLACK BUMBLE BEE STRIPES UP FRONT AND BLACKED OUT TAIL LIGHT PANEL, COWL INDUCTION HOOD, RED STANDARD INTERIOR WITH A 68-69 BLACK CONSOLE WITH ROUND AFTERMARKET GUAGES, NEW BLACK TOP, CRACK RUNNING ALMOST STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE WINDSHIELD, DENT ON RIGHT FENDER CALIFORNIA PERSONALIZED BLACK LICENSE PLATE READ 67RAGTO WITH A 1967 YEAR TAB ON IT, FRONT PLATE WAS CUSTOM MADE ONLY HAD A RED JD ON IT. 15" RALLY WHEELS WITH BF GOODRICH 215/60/R15 IN FRONT AND 245/60/R15 IN REAR WITH RAISED WHITE LETTERS. HEADLIGHTS WERE AFTERMARKET PROJECTOR LIGHTS. 350 ENGINE MUNCIE 4SPEED TRANSMISSION WITH A HURST SHIFTER. A GOOD GIVE AWAY FOR THOSE CAMARO EXPERTS IS THE INCORRECT BUMBLE BEE STRIPES AS SHOWN IN THE PICTURE. STOLEN FROM THE VICINITY OF SHERMAN WAY AND THE 170 FREEWAY IN NORTH HOLLYWOOD CA. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP. Contact JULIO DIAZ 323-637-8797