Gasoline is Dangerous in Fire


I don’t know how many times I’ve told people that if you want to play with fire, never mess with gasoline. Diesel. Fine. Plastic. Whatever, just don’t burn yourself when you get melting and burning plastic on your skin. Blowing up aerosol cans. Fine, just make sure not to start a brush fire when you send partially burnt trash over your head. But gasoline — be aware!

What makes gasoline such a dangerous product is that it’s vapours are very explosive. Gasoline is relatively easy to vaporise as a fuel — you can vaporise it just by pouring it out of a container. And that vapour is very explosive. That’s why we use it as an engine fuel. It’s really easy to burn, and to burn cleanly under controlled conditions.

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Burnin' Wood at Fire on June 25, 2009

Yet, you figure out the sheer amount of power that a gasoline engine gets out of minuscule amounts of gasoline, you can understand why it’s so readily explosive. The explosion can not only provide controlled propulsion, but it can also blow up and send objects in towards your face, and that can be quite painful, to say nothing about the burns from the flash of fire.

Few common things are as dangerous as gasoline. Diesel doesn’t vaporise under normal conditions. You have to heat up diesel and apply compression to it for an explosion to occur. It’s relatively safe to pour diesel on some trash to get it burning. Diesel will burn, and it will burn hot, once it’s caught from something else burning, but it won’t explode.

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Burnt at Fire on June 8, 2009

Gasoline in contrast does vaporise under normal conditions. It’s vapors will explode with an incredible amount of force. Pour gasoline on some trash, let it sit for a few seconds, toss a match at it from a half a dozen feet away, and boom. Hope you don’t have anything that will act as shrapnel coming towards you. And don’t do it in any kind of enclosed space that is likely to contain the explosion — as much fun as it is to watch.

If your ever working on anything that burns gasoline or similar fuel like Coleman fuel. Be very careful, if you care about your life, and don’t like visiting the Westchester Burn Unit.

  • Always check for fuel leaks with soap before lighting a white gas stove or other similar device
  • Don’t use gasoline to start fires, especially in enclosed spaces, or with anything you don’t want to hit you when it explodes.
  • Never pour gas in anything near flame or spark.

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Camp Stove at Sugar Hill on June 30, 2009

These are all things we’ve learned as children. Yet the sheer fun of watching shit burn and explode, sometimes gets the best of us as adults. Just please remember, that gasoline goes boom and you don’t want to be in path of boom.

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