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Fire Cop  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 2/02/2009 11:53 AM EST

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Off-gassing, explosive vapor production?
Good Day Mason;

By means of introduction, I am a fire investigator who has attended to a number of fire scenes where SPF was being, or had recently been, applied to a structure when a fire broke out. Some of these incidents were associated with installation "shortcomings" while some had nothing to do with the SPF.

This latest case I am working on requires me to get some insight from the experts. One hypothesis proffered by another investigator is that the SPF insulation in the crawl space (conducted 15 - 18+ hours prior to the incident) was not conducted with proper ventilation and allowed for the accumulation of explosive vapors from the application of the product. Since the off-gassing and vapor production had no ventilation through the evening, when the worker returned the following morning and plugged in the portable heat, the vapors ignited and blew the house up.

I have strong doubts about the likelihood of this scenario and have far more empirical evidence of another (unrelated to SPF) hypothesis to support the cause of the explosion. However, my charge is far more complex then just determining origin and cause, I also have to be able to show what did not cause the explosion.

My Questions:

Could the curing process of the SPF (this was a LaPolla product) produce any ignitable vapors over this extended (or any) period of time to produce an explosive atmosphere? Does my counterparts hypothesis have any merit? Are there any published test reports or data to support or refute his hypothesis?

I am sure I may have a few more questions, and if you have any of me, please let me know and I can supply you with whatever I can.

bayouboy  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 2/02/2009 5:51 PM EST

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RE: Off-gassing, explosive vapor production?
Hi Fire Cop

You are definately on the right page. If anyone can answer you questions, it will be Mason.

From a practical use standpoint, the off gassing is not flamable by any means. The only issues that we deal with as applicators is the heat caused by the chemical reaction of the Isocynate and Reisin when they are mixed together.

Spraying very thick layers can cause excessive heat and I am sure under the right circumstances a fire can occur if applied excessively.

Of course firing up a heater in a contained area of an attic would not be my best advice either.

I am sure you will get a lot of responses from your post though!

Best regards,


Steve Loga
www.alphaonespf.com

Mason  

Moderator
Posted: 2/03/2009 11:15 AM EST

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RE: Off-gassing, explosive vapor production?
The sprayfoam does not contain flammable liquids that would offgas flammable vapors during curing. I see no merit in their theory.

Mason  

Moderator
Posted: 2/03/2009 11:18 AM EST

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RE: Off-gassing, explosive vapor production?
There have been tests conducted on the VOC level of foam during the curing process and the levels are very low. typically within a few hours (even with unvented spaces), equipment is unable to detect significant levels of chemical emissions from the foam.

Fire Cop  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 2/03/2009 11:29 AM EST

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RE: Off-gassing, explosive vapor production?
Thank you very much Mason. This is very helpful information.

Are you aware of any industry published text or test results which I can obtain to support this. Rest assured, I am not doubting you or your expertise, I am sure you know your SPF industry... :)

However,(sadly) I know my industry and if I can get more than information from a forum post to support my investigative findings and assertions, I can save an SPF installer a lot of unnecessary head and heart ache. Any direction would be appreciated.

Mason  

Moderator
Posted: 2/03/2009 3:19 PM EST

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RE: Off-gassing, explosive vapor production?
send me an email to masonknowles@aol.com and I will forward some testing info.

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