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Leaks; An anecdote (YAK)

    All I could say at that moment was "Dave, Dave, Dave".  My
husband Dave turned to look at me, saw the fire extinguisher and the
flame on the tank.  He grabbed the extinguisher and put out the

Yeah, g’day; That reminds me of one of the bravest actions I ever
saw. It was in a research laboratory one morning and we had just
arrived to start work. One of the staff had been using a special
electric furnace which required a steady, gentle flow of hydrogen gas,
provided by a large red cylinder. The excess gas, after passing
through the furnace was burnt off ‘safely’ as a small flame from a
metal tube. He’d left it running all night. But the flame had burnt
back along the rubber connecting tube, so destroying it, right to the
cylinder and regulating valve. There was another small flame coming
from the junction of the brass connecting piece to the cylinder itself

  • which was visibly red hot! What to do? Put the flames out? The heat
    would only relight them, and as we looked other flames began starting
    from the neck of that cylinder. But one couldn’t turn the gas off
    anyway, and one wouldn’t want hydrogen filling the lab even if you
    could extinguish the flames. Big Bang wouldn’t be the words. By this
    time someone had called the Fire Brigade. Two of their men walked
    straight in, unchained the cylinder from the bench, and carrying it
    between them, still burning energetically, down six flights of stairs
    to the courtyard, where it eventually burnt itself out. Did the bloke
    whose apparatus it was get the sack? A good bottling? Fined? None of
    the above. He was the second in command of the research complex and
    had a doctorate in Metallurgy and Physics. It was the firemen who
    deserved a medal, but they didn’t get one so far as I know; it was all
    kept very quiet. By the way, that was in 1953, in Sheffield. – Cheers

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ