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Using an LEL Detector to Debunk an Accidental Fire

Echo 7 Foxtrot, LLC Forensic Science Using an LEL Detector to Debunk an Accidental Fire
MultiRAE Pro with LEL and PID

Forensic Science

Using an LEL Detector to Debunk an Accidental Fire

Posted By Echo 7 Foxtrot

In this video, we tackle a theory going around that Eric Cates accidentally started the fire that engulfed his truck in flames and ultimately killed him in March 2015 behind Empire School in Empire, AL. Lead Investigator Michael Fleming explains what is necessary for successful combustion to occur, what lean and rich mixtures are, and how a Lower Explosive Level (LEL) meter is used to detect when an atmosphere is approaching a fuel-air mixture that is combustible. Michael goes over the MultiRAE Pro, a 5-gas meter commonly used in the fire and rescue service, equipped with an LEL sensor and a Photo Ionization Detector (PID) to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Michael then puts the science to work in a demonstration to determine if gas vapors in the truck could have ignited if Eric had spilled gas on his boots or pants and then accidentally dropped a cigarette.

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