Feeds

Bumbling NJ firemen, cops blown up in 'huge fireball'

Gunpowder plot ruled out: bunker-buster blunder blamed

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Firemen and police officers in New Jersey blew themselves up last week in an "orange mushroom cloud of fire and debris" which created a "deafening boom felt miles away". The unfortunate public-safety operatives had been attempting to light a bonfire at a high-school rally.

According to the South Jersey Courier-Post, kids at Vineland High School had planned a "pep rally" at 6:30 pm local time last Wednesday. Weather conditions had been damp, and it seems that local firemen attending the rally "doused" the bonfire - constructed largely of wooden shipping pallets - with "diesel and another accelerant".

Within seconds of the fire being lit, there was apparently a devastating blast which "ejected a flaming pile of pallets into the sky" atop the above mentioned roiling fireball. Fortunately nobody was seriously hurt, though the Courier-Post reports that a firefighter was injured by flying debris and several police officers "sought medical treatment for ear ailments" following the blast.

No schoolkids were harmed, and the rally apparently went ahead without trouble at an alternative venue free of exploding bonfires.

Initial investigations focused on the possibility that unknown scoundrels had "tampered" with the pallet pile beforehand. This theory was bolstered by the fact that some onlookers reported a sulphurous smell as of gunpowder following the explosion.

However detectives later downplayed the gunpowder-plot theory, saying that the smell probably came from the diesel poured on the fire by the firefighters, which apparently had a high sulphur content.

Rather than any foul play, it appears that vapour from the accelerants built up in the deep pit where the fire had been built, forming a fuel-air mix of the type employed by the military in so-called "bunker buster" bombs. When the fire was lit, the accidental fuel-air mix blew up rather than simply burning.

As diesel is hard to evaporate, especially in chilly weather, it seems probable that the other unnamed accelerant used by the firefighters was responsible for the blast.

Investigators described the inadvertent bunker-busting pallet-flinging fireball unpleasantness as a "freak accident", according to the Courier-Post. ®

Before becoming the Reg comedy-explosions correspondent, Lewis Page worked in bomb disposal for some years. He would of course never be so irresponsible as to use volatile accelerants, except when deliberately creating a fireball/blast-incendiary effect for educational purposes. Or maybe on very special occasions.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
MEN WANTED to satisfy town full of yearning BRAZILIAN HOTNESS
'Prettier, better organised, more harmonious than if men were in charge'
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.