Re: Swissair MD-11 (SR 111, JFK-GVA) crash off Nova Scotia

Date:         26 Oct 98 02:59:43 
From: (Malcolm Hopkins)
Organization: NIWA
References:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7
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JF Mezei <> wrote:

>Anonymous lo14 wrote:
>> Some *cargo* compartments depend on a lack of oxygen to snuff out a
>> fire, but no passenger compartment can do that.  That's because those
>> cargo compartments are inaccessible in flight.  You fight passenger
>> cabin fires with fire extinguishers.

>In the case of the DC-9 (Valuejet), it was considered a Class-D cargo
>compartment which, if I remember correctly, assumes air starvation as
>method of extinguishing, right ?

>But the DC-9 also vents cabin air through holes in the cabin floor
>alongside the walls, and that air goes to the cargo hold (one of which
>is heated).  So I wonder how it can starve a cago fire of air unless it
>stops pumping air in the cabin.

I believe the Valujet cargo hold fire was the result of incorrectly
stowed aircraft emergency oxygen generators which would make any fire
associated with them extremely difficult if not impossible to put out.
I do not think even those oxygen removing extinguishers (Halon? or
CO2) would have been of much use with a fire that is able to produce
its its own oxygen. That is one of the reasons that there are very
strict controls (if not bans) on the airfreighting of oxidising
chemicals and substances.

Malcolm Hopkins
New Zealand

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