Please don't microwave your library books

The Kent District Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan is imploring its patrons to please not attempt to disinfect borrowed books by putting them in the microwave. The books contain metal RFID tags that will burn the pages and potentially cause a fire. From KIRO7:

“I don’t know if it was something that they saw on the news — that they thought maybe the heat would kill COVID-19,” Kozlowicz told The Detroit Free Press.

The library said it uses U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines to ensure safety for using library materials. It also keeps all materials in quarantine for at least 72 hours.

For more on libraries' sanitization practices: "Do libraries fumigate books to disinfect them?" (Boing Boing)

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Camp Fire: PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for negligence in California’s worst wildfire

“The California utility agreed to pay a nearly $2 billion fine for causing the blaze, which killed dozens and destroyed the town of Paradise.”

Customer demands refund at Burger King as restaurant burns down

The video below shows a customer in a vehicle at a Burger King drive-through window. The restaurant is clearly ablaze, with smoke billowing from the roof and fire alarms shrieking. Staff, who have evacuated the building, call for her to move away from the burning structure. The customer demands a refund.

MAN EMPLOYEE: "Is anyone still inside?"

WOMAN EMPLOYEE: "Move! It's on fire!"

CUSTOMER (emerging from car): "I don't give a fuck! I just moved! Now give me my money! That's what I'm asking for!"

MAN EMPLOYEE: *Incoherent anguish*

CUSTOMER: "Y'all were just laughing in there. Now you come out here and act all serious? You're fucking stupid!"

MAN EMPLOYEE: [*further incoherent anguish*] stupid motherfucker.

CUSTOMER: You ... this is why you work at Burger King. That's why you work at Burger King making $13 an hour homes!

Exeunt right. Read the rest

When NASA crash-landed a jetliner full of fuel

When a plane is in trouble, the pilots dump all its its fuel before making an emergency landing. This is controversial; though fuel usually dissipates before reaching ground, it's a dangerous pollutant all the same and sometimes it gets dumped close enough to humans that it puts them at risk.

This 1984 film, of a test of jet fuel formulated to resist igniting, shows why pilots dump it. NASA and the FAA loaded a retired training jet with test dummies, then remote-piloted it to a crash landing in the Mojave desert. It comes down rough but stays in one piece as it plows through earthworks and obstacles. If it were out of gas, chances of everyone surviving would be good. But with a full tank?

Spoiler: the fuel ignites. As one commenter puts it, "proponents of antimisting kerosene did not have a great day."

The test went generally according to plan, and produced a spectacular fireball that required more than an hour to extinguish. The FAA concluded that about one-quarter of the passengers would have survived, that the antimisting kerosene test fuel did not sufficiently reduce the risk of fire, and that several changes to equipment in the passenger compartment of aircraft were needed.

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Pup starts fire

The owner of two dogs installed a camera to keep an eye on their new companions. But it instead solved the mystery of why the Los Alamos-area home ended up on fire: 9-month-old Kahuna knocked over a bunch of clothes that caught fire.

The suspicious-looking iron wasn't on, reports the Los Alamos Daily Post. An out-of-view baseboard heater triggered the blaze.

two pets had evacuated safely.

Cameras are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Read the rest

Australia fires: Carrots and sweet potatoes dropped from the air to feed starving animals

The New South Wales Government is dropping thousands of pounds of carrots and sweet potato from helicopters to feed the endangered Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies that are starving as a result of the massive bushfires across Australia. From the NSW Government:

(According to Environment Minister Matt Kean,) "Initial fire assessments indicate the habitat of several important Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby populations was burnt in the recent bushfires. The wallabies typically survive the fire itself, but are then left stranded with limited natural food as the fire takes out the vegetation around their rocky habitat.

"The wallabies were already under stress from the ongoing drought, making survival challenging for the wallabies without assistance."

In the last week almost 1000 kilograms of sweet potato and carrot have been sent to 6 different colonies in the Capertee and Wolgan valleys; 1000 kilograms across 5 sites in Yengo National Park; almost 100 kilograms of food and water in the Kangaroo Valley, with similar drops having also taken place in Jenolan, Oxley Wild Rivers and Curracubundi national parks.

Mr Kean said this is the most widespread food drop we have ever done for Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies and will help maintain these colonies and allow them to recover.

"At this stage, we expect to continue providing supplementary food to rock-wallaby populations until sufficient natural food resources and water become available again in the landscape, during post-fire recovery."

image: "Brush-tailed rock-wallabies (Petrogale penicillata)"/NPWS/DPIE

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KFC sells an artificial fire log that smells like greasy fried chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken teamed up with Enviro-Log to bring back the 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog that apparently sold out in just a few hours last year. On its site, JFC uses big bold type to make darn sure buyers understand that this log is "NOT ACTUALLY FRIED CHICKEN." The 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog available exclusively at Walmart. 'natch. Read the rest

Explosion at California storage tank farm

A fire raged for hours Tuesday at the NuStar storage silo farm by the Phillips 66 refinery between Oakland and Vallejo, California. There's an archived live feed from KRCA showing two of the silos burning; the embedded YouTube video shows the second silo exploding. (Jump to 1:15 and tilt head 90 degrees left). Speculation is that a minor earthquake triggered the blaze.

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Watch this dazzling fire at a fireworks store

A fire outside Davey Jones Fireworks and the House of Fireworks in Fort Mills, South Carolina resulted in a massive and unexpected fireworks show. From WCNC:

According to Capt. Jeff Nash with Flint Hill Fire Department the fire began at around 5:45 a.m. and started in the Connex Storage containers. Nash said those containers had dozens of cardboard boxes holding fireworks.

Deputies confirmed the storage units where the fire started belonged to Davey Jones Fireworks. The cause of the fire was under investigation, and no injuries were reported.

Deputy Fire Marshal Charles Williamson told NBC Charlotte that they believe the fire was intentionally set.

According to officials, because of all of the explosives, it took crews about 45 minutes to put out the fire.

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Refinery explosion in New Jersey

I've lived long enough in America to know that...

A) "Shelter in place" means "you'll probably be OK", and that... B) There is no footage so awesome it can't be ruined by graphics, chyrons and the inane narration of news presenters.

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Video from inside Notre Dame after the fire

Holy hell.

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When you have to burn a house down because of how many cockroaches are in it

Sometimes, you really do just have to kill it with fire.

Pana Fire Department's controlled burn of a house infested with cockroaches. October 30, 2010

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Firefighters rescue more than 100 snakes from home

Over the weekend, firefighters in Conroe, Texas responded to a house fire caused by Christmas tree lights. When they arrived, they were faced with more than 100 snakes and numerous lizards. From CNN:

The reptiles -- which, according to CNN affiliate KTRK included several five- to six-foot-long pythons and boa constrictors -- were in glass cases but still needed to be carried outside the house. With the help of the home's owners, fire crews ferried the snakes to safety...

"The homeowner wasn't willing to give a lot of information on why they had so many snakes. In fact, they told us the snakes don't like people in uniform," Flannelly added. "But as firefighters, we will do anything to help anybody."

Several reptiles died in the fire but the ones that were rescued were transferred to a local facility and are expected to be okay, KTRK reported.

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Climate change is fueling wildfires, warns National Climate Assessment

Climate change is why California is burning, and thousands of its citizens displaced, injured, or killed by the wildfires that spread with never-before-seen intensity. Read the rest

California Fires: 83% of Santa Monica Mountains federal parkland burned by Woolsey Fire

In addition to destroying hundreds of homes and claiming human lives, the Woolsey Fire that began last Thursday burned 83% of federal park land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, per Cal Fire. Read the rest

Video shot by survivors of the Camp Fire who escape for their lives shows just how terrifying this fire is

Hearing about Northern California's Camp Fire – or any fire for that matter – is scary enough. But seeing what it's like to escape for your life by driving right through a massive fire so that you can't see anything in front of you is absolutely terrifying. The fire spread so quickly – "80 football fields per minute," says The Guardian – that some people barely escaped, while others have died.

This video was taken by Brynn Parrott Chatfield, from the town of Paradise, which has been destroyed by the fire. The fire, which started Thursday morning around 6:30am, has burned over 20,000 acres so far, forcing "about 50,000 people to evacuate," according to The Guardian.

Via The Guardian:

As CNN points out, over 2,200 firefighters are currently battling the Camp Fire and they face a tough road ahead. The combination of dry conditions and high winds are making this a particularly difficult fire to fight.

Multiple fatalities have been reported but it’s not yet clear how many people might be dead. The exact number of injuries is also unknown and authorities still don’t know what caused the blaze.

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California's Delta Fire: 15,294+ acres scorched in 24 hours, 'human involvement' blamed

The area burning from the massive Delta fire in Shasta County, California tripled in size overnight, scorching 15,294 acres and counting as of Thursday afternoon, per California fire authorities. Human involvement is blamed. Read the rest

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