Before implementing safety measures, you’ll need to know which non-suspecting materials are explosive.
1) Flour (ST 1)
Flour contains carbohydrates which makes it burn fast and hot. It’s unlikely for household kitchens to store enough airborne flour to create a fire hazard, but the risk is far greater in flour mills.
In October 2021, a fire took place in a Corby flour mill complex, which reportedly involved machinery from the first floor of the building and a chute from the second floor to ground level. The fire was believed to be accidental and fire crews gave advice to the building’s staff members.
2) Cocoa mixture (ST 1)
In 2011, an explosion occurred at a cocoa processing facility in the Netherlands that fire services extinguished after a few hours. However, another fire that took place at the same plant in 2003 burned for several days after spreading to the stored cocoa.
3) Milk substitutes (ST 1)
Dairy-free milk powder contains sodium aluminosilicate, which is an anti-caking agent and can ignite when exposed to an open flame.
4) Sugar (ST 2)
Like flour, powdered sugar consists of carbohydrates, making it susceptible to igniting when too hot. However, this household item burns more intensely than flour.
At the beginning of 2021, a fire broke out in the drying area of the Bury St Edmunds British Sugar factory, causing a huge emergency services response. According to reports, 15 fire crews tackled the blaze, and no injuries were caused.
5) Orange instant drink (ST 2)
The highly flammable chemical limonene naturally occurs in oranges. The ST 2 rating cites this substance’s explosive power as strong.
6) Cinnamon (ST 1)
Cinnamon consists of the flammable compounds cinnamaldehyde and eugenol and can ignite when too much is released into the air.
7) Rice (ST 1)
Rice dust, which accumulates on dry rice, can catch fire if it comes into contact with a kitchen burner. A large quantity of rice is required for there to be enough dust to sustain a fire, which is a risk in a rice warehouse.
8) Cat food (ST 1)
Dry pet food produces grain dust that has a risk of combustion. To minimise this hazard, pet food manufacturing companies must implement dust extraction systems.
9) Wood dust (ST 1)
When wood dust is contained, the pressure build-up can cause a destructive explosion.
The severity of an explosion depends on various factors, including the moisture content, the size of the ignition source, and the enclosure’s strength.
10) Ground coffee (ST 1)
In 2018, there was a fire at a Dartford coffee roastery which thankfully didn’t result in any injuries. The cause wasn’t determined, but it was contained in the warehouse and believed to have destroyed 200 tonnes of coffee.
It reportedly took firefighters an entire day to fully extinguish the coffee, which entailed turning it over and then dampening it.