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Two German Developers Show New Fire-Fighting Method

August 30, 1995

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ It sounds like just the opposite of a firefighting formula, but two German experts swear it works: Add explosives to burning kerosene.

Frankfurt firemen on Tuesday used their training ground at the city’s airport to demonstrate the new method, developed to fight even massive conflagrations by using an explosive charge to set off a water cascade that extinguishes the flames almost instantly.

A model of a large passenger plane was surrounded by a lake of 1,300 gallons of airplane fuel. The area was ringed by a hose filled with the foam-like solution used to battle blazes on aircraft and other rapidly spreading fires. The hose, about 12 inches in diameter, also contained an explosive charge.

The kerosene was then set ablaze. As flames leapt into the sky, belching thick black smoke, a fireman pressed the trigger setting off the blast charge in the hose.

In the blink of an eye, a dense foam mist doused the burning model. The next moment, the fire was out.

The new fire-extinguishing system was developed by Reinhard Ries, a Frankfurt fire chief, and Winfried Rosenstock, an explosives expert who worked in Kuwait to put out fires set by Iraqis during the Gulf War.

``The system is cheap and most of the equipment is already at the disposal of the local firefighters. Any source of water can be used,″ Ries said.

The explosive-rigged hose costs $13-20 a yard. That’s the only new equipment needed, he said.

The developers say the new feature of their system is its direct aim at the approaching line of fire.

``This is a supplementary method in fighting forest fires. Firefighting planes remain essential,″ Ries said.

He also suggested that the hoses could be permanently installed alongside runways. Sensors could set off the hoses selectively on particular stretches of the runway.

The hoses are produced by the Wagner company of Hanover, Germany.

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