In Surprise, Arizona, firefighters were dispatched to a private garage to extinguish a blaze that had been sparked by a chemical explosion. After containing the fire, the crew managed to identify the source of the combustion as a potent reaction between heavy ethanol vapors and a cleaning solvent-soaked rag. After speaking with the homeowner, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Pool said it became apparent that the chemicals responsible for the blast were being used to concoct “bathtub” biodiesel. According to Pool, this is only one of several recent fires his crews have responded to that have been caused by aspiring alternative-fuel tycoons. Pool also said that manufacturing homegrown biodiesel is actually a fairly simple process, requiring little more than vegetable oil and a few pieces of equipment easily purchased online. That being the case, and with gas prices steadily on the rise, Pool expects to see a lot more amateur chemists following the explosive trend.
[News Source: Arizona Central]