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Handy contraption clears smoky cell

Monday, 10th January, 2011

Job’s cool: Firemen leave the jail yesterday after clearing a cell of smoke left by a burning mattress Job’s cool: Firemen leave the jail yesterday after clearing a cell of smoke left by a burning mattress

A machine that is probably not a familiar part of the firefighters’ armory was revealed in an incident at the jail yesterday morning.

The Central Fire Brigade was called to the jail in Gossan Street about 8.25am after a mattress was apparently set alight in one of the cells.

Prison officers had already removed the mattress and put out the fire when the brigade arrived but that was not the end of the job.

The firies the set about clearing the cell of smoke with their “positive pressure ventilation fan.”

The fan is designed to push the smoke out of a room, usually through a window or some other opening.

“You normally set it up about two metres from a door and angle it up so a cone (of air) is formed around the doorway,” said a spokeswoman for the brigade.

“The pressure of the air acts like a cold front which comes out in a big block, expelling the smoke and stopping anything from reigniting,” she said.

“But there was no exit point in the cell so we set it up in the door and churned the smoke out into the corridor from where it was swept out into the open air in the courtyard.”

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