Our work with boiler fires and explosions grew out of industrial boiler optimization work Dr. Pesuit did in the 1970's and early 80's during the energy crises. He developed one of the first computer-based heat/mass energy balances for such boilers.

In this case, a fire started in an oil-fired boiler soon after servicing and destroyed a house filled with more than a million dollars of collectible toys (Figure 1). Experts for the service firm focused on a dryer across the boiler room, but unburned carbon on the concrete block wall behind the dryer did not support a dryer fire scenario (The burn pattern is just visible in Figure 1). We found aluminum melt near the base of the furnace cabinet walls (Figure 2) and burn patterns on the furnace door at the very bottom of the debris pile (Figure 3) which proved that the servicemen had forgotten to tighten the oil spray nozzle after servicing.

The case settled against the service firm just before trial.