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  1. #1

    Question What is this thing?

    Spotted this in a 1956 house. Client claims it is a fire extinguisher, but I haven't been able to find anything that looks like it. Can anyone shed some light as to what it is and how it works, and what kinds of materials are inside it?

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    Default Re: What is this thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    Spotted this in a 1956 house. Client claims it is a fire extinguisher, but I haven't been able to find anything that looks like it. Can anyone shed some light as to what it is and how it works, and what kinds of materials are inside it?
    It is indeed a fire safety device, commonly referred to as a "fire grenade." But they're quite ineffective and often contain hazardous chemicals (such as carbon tetrachloride). It was said to work, supposedly, by exploding when heated and depleting the fire of an oxygen source, creating poisonous gas phosgene in the process.


  3. #3
    Ken Bates's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is this thing?

    There's probably a thin glass vial inside the aluminum housing. At least the glass vial is protected from physical trauma. I recall being in an attic of a very old mansion that had many delicate glass vials with a red colored chemical lacking any kind of physical protection. Yet one more risk for firefighters.

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    Default Re: What is this thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Welmoed Sisson View Post
    Spotted this in a 1956 house. Client claims it is a fire extinguisher, but I haven't been able to find anything that looks like it. Can anyone shed some light as to what it is and how it works, and what kinds of materials are inside it?
    Yep, Carbon Tetra-chloride fire extinguisher. The grenades were made by a ton of manufacturers, some are really unique shapes and styles. I think that this particular one has a solder plug that will melt & release the CTC and the holes in the "cone" distribute the chemical. As long as it isn't leaking or isn't dropped it should be ok. I would recommend removal, disposal is a problem all its own. Can't be incinerated because of its extinguishement characteristics. The approved method is by evaporation under a fume hood, Good luck finding that capability though. CTC is considered toxic now and its use is banned in nearly all applications.


    http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts30.pdf

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    Thumbs up Re: What is this thing?

    Very interesting - and timely. Our local ASHI chapter is looking to put on a training session at our next meeting on the potential chemical hazards that can be found during a home inspection. I passed the URL for this thread along to our education committee to pass along to the speaker. Good stuff. Thanks for posting the question, and the identity of what these are.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: What is this thing?

    Worth some money to a collector. Just saw some old fire extinguishing items at an antique store, $30-$45.


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