View Full Version : Anyone know much about Fires?

11-17-2010, 12:14 AM
In my current WIP, my MC owns a bakery and on her day off, there was a fire in the kitchen.

I know next to nothing about fires, so I'm needing some help if possible. The kitchen is in the bakery, so there is (probably) only a small stove top. There are several ovens, as well as a lot of small appliances plugged in.

The building is old (very early 1900's construction) and brick.

Ideally, the fire would be an accident. I'd originally thought electrical (wiring related) but I don't really know enough about any of this to make it realistic.

Any help at all would be appreciated.

11-17-2010, 12:22 AM
A long time ago my school had an electrical fire with a malfunction of the ovens. If she owns a bakery odds are she would have big ovens, not stove-top ovens, right? Those were the oven used in my school.

I don't know much about electrical fires but I do know grease fires are very violent, and in the event of throwing water on it it just gets bigger. They get out of control pretty quickly.

But I'm not an expert so someone else might have a better answer.

11-17-2010, 12:45 AM
If the bakery makes donuts, they'd have friers for them. Fire codes require an Ansel system (Automated CO2 extinguishers built into the hood) over the friers. If the temperature gets above a certain point, the CO2 system goes off and puts the grease fire out.

You could have a faulty wiring problem that would start a fire in another area of the kitchen, start burning the bags of flour, then the walls, etc.

11-17-2010, 12:48 AM
Thanks to both of you!!

I'm still researching, but this has definitely helped me :)

11-17-2010, 02:29 AM
You need to say where this is set, down to the specific city. Fire code matters a lot, and beyond the Ansel system, a bakery in many cities would be required to have a sprinkler system. And a sprinkler system in many places would be tied into an automatic alarm system. And if this is the fire code, it's hard to get a good fire going.

Here's a case where you might want to skip the details and just go with a good electrical fire that totaled the building. The more you go into details, the less credible this will probably become. But if you slide it through as an unimportant point, then most people won't worry about the details.

Or give us an idea about what the plot needs, and I can probably figure out a scenario. I was a captain on a volunteer fire department for many years.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

11-17-2010, 03:12 AM
Hi jax,

I'm not too sure about the mechanics, but flour can be rather explosive under certain conditions. RJK and JCD can probably explain it better than I. So I won't even attempt it.

I'm actually doing a Health and Safety exam tomorrow and I've learned that fire is caused by material, stuff that burns, ignition, thing that starts the fire, and oxygen, which keeps the home flames burning. So satisfy those three conditions and you'll get something. Incidentally, for fat fires, CO2 only puts out secondary fires directly, and extinguises the fat flame through lack of oxygen. Which could be a nice grey area to keep things burning.

If you want to use an electrical fault for ignition there are a few things that would work: loose connections, bad cable insulation, all the way up to exploding fuses. Some of these are caused by time, bad workmanship, or rodents eating the cable.

Hope this helps,


11-17-2010, 03:18 AM
Jim - Thanks so much! I was hoping for exactly your response...

Maybe I'll change the fire to a flood. *lol* Maybe that'll make it more plausible. A Burst pipe or something...

Whacko -- That was a huge help if I do go with the fire stance!

11-17-2010, 03:55 AM
Yeah a flood is probably easier to write in. Good luck!

Elias Graves
11-18-2010, 03:40 AM
Electrical fires are common in old buildings, particularly if you run heavy 220 volt ovens all day. Those can start in the walls and travel a long way undetected and can cause a lot of damage. Hard to put out, too.


11-19-2010, 06:50 AM
If the fire gets to flour, you could be in for trouble. When disturbed, flour hangs in the air in clouds, and in this state, it's kind of... explosive. Basically, the way that it hangs in the air means that each and every particle of flour has access to a lot of oxygen and so can burn well. Each burning particle of flour warms the air around it, causing a slight expansion of this air. It will also ignite neighbouring particles, which will then do the same. If there's enough flour, then add all these expansions together in a fraction of a second, and you have quite a blast. A basic thermobaric explosion, or fuel-air bomb in layman's terms.