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Oct 1, 2001

A First-hand Report On Why Mladin's Bike Burned In Sunday-morning Practice At VIR

This just in from cornerworker Sean Jordan:<BR><BR><BR>Just some first-hand info on the fire...<BR><BR>I was the second cornerworker on the scene with one of the Cold Fire extinguishers. My post was corner station 16, and Mladin's crash was almost directly across from 17a. When Mladin crashed, the cornerworkers at 17 seemed to have things under control, but when we saw the bike burst into flames, I grabbed our extinguisher and started running. Since I had to stay out of the immediate impact zones, I would guess, (very roughly) that the distance I had to run was around 75 yards or more. When I arrived at the bike, the cornerworker from 17 ran out of fluid from his extinguisher. I began to use mine, and had the blaze defeated in somewhere around 2 or so.<BR><BR>The initial fire fighting efforts were hampered due to two reasons. Mr. Crumpton's assertion that gas was still fueling the fire is correct. Also, Mladin's bike came to rest with the underbelly pointing more towards the straightaway, and the top of the bike pointed away. The way the wind was blowing, the majority of smoke and fire was around the tank and seat area, and that's also where the fire was being fed. The first cornerworker was loathe to approach the fire from that angle, and instead fired from behind the fire, and was not able to get the Cold Fire into the area where it was needed most. When I arrived, the wind had changed direction slightly, and I was able to get into the tank area and put out the fire.<BR><BR>In retrospect, I would say that two extinguishers at every station would have provided a greater margin for safety, but under the circumstances, one would have been sufficient if applied more effectively.<BR><BR>(See related post on 9/30/01)