Norwich Township firefighters this week experienced a phenomenon they never hope to encounter on the job: a flashover.
The condition occurs when super-heated gases from a burning object, most often contained a room, reach a level that causes objects in the room to spontaneously and simultaneously combust. The condition also is referred to as a flashpoint.
Firefighters are trained to thwart the conditions for flashovers upon attacking a fire, making their occurrence not altogether common; firefighters also are trained to recognize the sights and sounds immediately preceding a flashover and take additional protective measures, Norwich Capt. Jeff Evans said.
Still, flashovers occur, and during a three-day training course, required for firefighters to maintain certification, Norwich firefighters experienced flashovers in a controlled setting.
The Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office set up a mobile fire lab March 25-27 at Fire Station 81.
During the three days, teams of firefighters representing all the units at three Norwich stations entered the simulator in which a burning piece of furniture caused the conditions for a flashover.
"The mobile lab allows us the ability to observe a flashover in a controlled atmosphere with no real danger," Evans said.