Last updated: 28/11/2018, 2:04 PM

Man 'engulfed in ball of fire' in Acton flat blaze

24/02/2015 12:50
House or flat fire

A man who tried to stop mice entering his flat on Mill Hill Road in Acton by blocking their holes with expanding aerosol foam suffered burns when propellant gas ignited on Sunday afternoon.

'Engulfed in a ball of fire'

A witness told fire investigators that the man was ‘engulfed in a ball of fire’ and he suffered burns to his hands and arms that required hospital treatment.

He had used eight cans of expanding foam over the previous two days to fill mice holes and gaps around the skirting boards in his kitchen, but hadn't ventilated the room adequately. 

Our Top 3 Tips for expanding foam

• Rooms should be very well ventilated when applying the foam, especially when its being applied in confined spaces, and the ventilation should continue while the foam is curing and hardening.

• Make sure there are no naked flames, such as candles, gas cookers or gas fires in use when the foam is being applied and when it’s curing. 

• Always refer to refer to manufacture’s instructions and safety guidance before starting work.

Highly Flammable

The expanding foam contained a propellant gas, methylene-diphenyl-diisocyanate 4,4’-  that is highly flammable. 

The gas is emitted from the foam as it expands and dries out. The gas is heavier than air, sinks and forms an invisible cloud. It’s thought the gas ignited when the man switched on his gas cooker.  

Acton and Ealing

Two fire engines and around 10 firefighters and officers from Acton and Ealing fire stations attended the incident.

The Brigade was called at 1250 and the fire as under control at 1259.