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Sunnyside City Fire Department institutes new flame retardant technology

Community kids ride atop the Sunnyside fire engine that will be testing revolutionary technique soon.

Sun Advocate reporter

Sunnyside officials approved testing of a new fire fighting substance Tuesday that was created by students at the College of Eastern Utah .

Moving forward with technology is the main focus of the Sunnyside city council according to Gene Madrid, Sunnyside City Fire Chief.

"We have just been given two barrels of FEM-12SC for testing purposes," said Madrid. "We have high hopes of incorporating the new technology into our current fire fighting arsenal.

The conception of the revolutionary fire retardant was an accident according to Dr. George Uhlig, retired CEU professor and mastermind of the FEM-12SC project.

"That seems to be the case in many scientific discoveries," quipped Uhlig. "Oddly enough the result of an experiment often times leads to the discovery of something that is completely unexpected. In this case we happen to be very pleased with the outcome."

Tests have proven that FEM-12SC is a very effective method of extinguishing any type of fire. When tested on a magnesium fire, the agent put out the blaze in a matter of minutes. According to Uhlig there is currently nothing available that compares to this type of performance.

"The fact that more and more cars are being built with magnesium parts, FEM-12SC seems to be a perfect solution to help evolve the fire fighting industry," said Madrid. "We plan to test the agent thoroughly in many different scenarios and if effective we will implement it into our protocol."

According to Uhlig, when magnesium catches fire, the use of water will cause the fire to ignite even further, literally causing an explosion. When FEM-12SC is applied to the same fire the results are the exact opposite. There are no sparks or no hassle, just a better, safer way of putting out the blaze.

The product has recently been approved by the Federal Aviation Authority and is currently being implemented by the United States Air Force as a fire retardant on jets.

Uhlig indicated that the agent will not only be used to extinguish magnesium fires, but there is also a v real possibility that FEM-12SC can effectively extinguish coal mine fires of all kinds.

"We are currently doing tests to try to make the agent affordable for all types of industry," pointrf out Uhlig. "We are very optimistic that this task will be achieved very soon."

One example of how dangerous a magnesium fire can be was the 24 hours of Le Mans Disaster on June 11, 1955. Pierre Levegh was behind the wheel of the #20 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.

There was a devastating wreck and, as the remains of the 300 SLR slowed the somersault, the fuel tank situated behind Leverage's seat ruptured.The ensuing fuel fire raised the temperature of the bodywork past its flash point which, due to high magnesium content , was already very low.

Rescue workers made the mistake of spraying the wreckage with water causing the fire to intensify and burn for hours.

According to Wikipidia there were 82 spectators killed in total, some by flying car parts and the rest from the fire.

"A lot of lives could have been saved that day if the fire fighters had known about FEM-12SC," said Uhlig. "Hopefully we can prevent another disaster like this with our little invention."

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