Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 139

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 139

…Martin stomps his feet like he has a hot-foot, darting out to, and back from, the burning walls…

“If you don’t smell burnt flesh, you know he’s not physically present. He will know that I have left the room,”  explains a knowledgeable Agent Daniels.

“How dare you cross me”

He does in fact know they have gone, but is uncharacteristically cautious, fully aware that Cephus knows more than the average mere man.

The pair lingers away for what they thought would be an ample amount of time and return to the office to see what’s what. After unlocking the door, they enter to a room that has that signature aroma; “He” had been there.

Thinking they were in the clear turns out to be a mistake. That smell is in the present, not past, tense. The room ignites into a full-blown inferno. The bait has become the first course and is quickly reaching well-done on the culinary scale. They retreat to the only exit, but that is locked.

As they back away from the worst of the blaze, Martin remembers something Willard had told him, ‘If you come by sometime and can’t find me, check out the floor’, an odd thing to tell somebody, even a friend, on purpose.

Martin stomps his feet like he has a hot-foot, darting out to, and back from, the burning walls. He detects a hollow sound beneath once specific spot. He reaches down to peel away a melting rubber mat and in the same motion grasping a sizzling brass ring. Wouldn’t you know it? There for their most timely convenience is an underground passage. “This way, Daniels!”

Martin jumps feet first, followed closely by Agent Daniels with little delay. The temperature suddenly drops to refreshing levels.  They can see the fiery room above and hear the sirens from the Argonne Township Fire Department.

“They will have to turn the sprinklers on manually… your Penty did not miss a trick,” Martin acknowledges the crime of a well planned arson.

“My Penty?” Daniels is guilty by association. From out of a handy dandy tool belt he pulls out a powerful penlight to guide their way. “What is this place?”


Constance Caraway P.I.

 Forever Mastadon


page 122

The Science of Arson

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The fire tetrahedron

Fires start when a flammable and/or a combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen-rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist that can replace oxygen), is exposed to a source of heat or ambienttemperature above the flash point for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is able to sustain a rate of rapid oxidation that produces a chain reaction. This is commonly called the fire tetrahedron. Fire cannot exist without all of these elements in place and in the right proportions. For example, a flammable liquid will start burning only if the fuel and oxygen are in the right proportions. Some fuel-oxygen mixes may require a catalyst, a substance that is not directly involved in anychemical reaction during combustion, but which enables the reactants to combust more readily.

Once ignited, a chain reaction must take place whereby fires can sustain their own heat by the further release of heat energy in the process of combustion and may propagate, provided there is a continuous supply of an oxidizer and fuel.

“I do not endorse any fire except for heating and cooking.”

Gwenny

The Science of Arson