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Fire Research Notes


Lustig, R.E., 1960. FIRES ASSOCIATED WITH OIL BURNING APPLIANCES IN 1959. Fire Research Notes 442


An analysis has been made of reports of fires associated with oil burning appliances in 1959, to provide some up-to-date information while awaiting results of a detailed survey which will be available in about eighteen months' time. The analysis covers fires which had been reported to the Joint Fire Research Organization by about mid April 1960; as some reports were still outstanding at that time, the information is not quite complete for the whole year, but the emissions are almost certainly of a minor nature, except possibly in the case of fatal casualties, which sometimes take longer to report. Nonetheless, the total number of fires, 4,552, was the highest recorded in any year. The method of approach was chosen to permit comparison with an earlier analysis on the 1956 figures. Special attention has been given to the type of feed. Only about one-third of the reports gave this information, but there is some indication that about two-thirds of the fires caused by space heaters in dwellings were attributable to wick feed appliances. If this estimate is correct, it would appear that drip feed heaters do not cause any more fires in relation to the number at risk than the wick type. Furthermore, a higher proportion of the fires attributed to wick heaters caused casualties. This seems to be due to the fact that wick type heaters are more liable to be overturned or dropped and it is this group of fires which is most likely to cause casualties. A comparison has also been made of the fire hazards of space heating appliances using different fuels in dwellings. This shows that oil and solid fuel heaters have a much higher incidence rate per million appliances at risk, than either gas or electric heaters. The high rate for solid fuel may be at least partly due to the long periods during which these appliances are at risk.

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