[ID] => 10716
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-03-14 09:25:30
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-14 09:25:30
[post_content] => Being able to control fire is one of the significant differences between mankind and other animal species. But it seems there are some individuals in the group that have yet to achieve mastery.
Take this story – kind of old now, but still relevant. A man in Detroit started a fire at a service station in 2015 when he spotted what he thought was a spider hanging out near his filling cap. Clearly arachnophobic, he attempted to burn the blighter using his cigarette lighter. The inevitable happened: the lighter also set fire to gasoline coming out of the nozzle, spreading flames along the car and across the forecourt.
The man’s car suffered some damage but the pump was destroyed. Quick action by the attendant shut off the fuel supply and prevented a disaster.
UP IN SMOKE
A more recent example comes from Xi’an, China, where six people were injured in a lift in February. All six were heading up in the lift to the sixth floor of a karaoke bar and one of them had a bunch of balloons. One of the victims reported hearing someone use a lighter (you can smoke in elevators in China?) and there was a sudden explosion.
“There wasn’t much space in the lift and one of them was holding a bunch of balloons. When the lift reached the third floor, a sudden loud bang occurred and I saw a fireball. The flame only lasted for a few seconds and I felt the heat on my face before we reached the fourth floor,” the victim reported.
All six came out of the lift with burn injuries and were rushed by the karaoke bar to the hospital for treatment. Authorities were, at the end of February, still investigating the cause, though the finger of suspicion points squarely at the lighter.
Other stories show the risks of mixing youth and flammable materials. In March, a teenage girl was badly burned in eastern Turkey. She had been suffering with head lice and was told by a friend that the best way to get rid of them was to wash her hair with gasoline.
Taking that advice, she took some gasoline from a heater at her home (the concept of a gasoline-fuelled home heater sounds highly risky to us) and followed her friend’s instructions. But, bending down, the heater ignited the gasoline on her hair. Her father, hearing her screams, wrapped her in towels to douse the fire and burned his hands in the process. The girl ended up in intensive care and, as is modern practice, her friends set up a fundraising campaign on social media to help pay her medical costs. Perhaps they can check, while on social media, whether gasoline really is any good at getting rid of lice.
Indeed, a quick visit to Dr Google reveals that the practice of using gasoline, kerosene, turpentine or other similar substances to rid the hair of lice goes back at least 100 years and was, indeed, once recommended in medical journals. However, science has moved on a lot in the intervening period and there are now plenty of ways of doing the job with less risk.
And yet, the practice persists. The website Snopes lists ten similar incidents in the US alone in the 20 years up to 2009.
[post_title] => NOS: The art of mastering fire
[post_status] => publish
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[post_name] => nos-art-mastering-fire
[post_modified] => 2019-03-14 09:25:30
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-14 09:25:30
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NOS: The art of mastering fire
// By Peter Mackay on 14 Mar 2019
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