Twenty Common Ignitable Liquids used as Fire Accelerants
1. Acetone - (dimethyl ketone, 2-propanone), (C3H6O), flash point -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C); ignition temperature 869 degrees F (465.4 degrees C); explosive limits 2.6%-13.0%; vapor density 2.0; specific gravity 0.792; toxicity (3). A volatile, flammable, colorless, liquid ketone having a fragrant odor and miscible with water, alcohol, and most oils. Principal uses are as a solvent in lacquers, varnishes, cosmetics, nail polish remover, and in the mixture of other solvents.
2. Carbon Disulfide - (carbon disulfide), (CS2) flash point -22 degrees F (-30 degrees C); ignition temperature 212 degrees F (100 degrees C); explosive limits 1.3% to 50%; vapor density 2.6; specific gravity 1.26; toxicity (2). A volatile, flammable, colorless to yellow liquid with a rotten egg odor. Carbon Disulfide, unlike most of the other common ignitable liquids, is heavier than water and will sink.
3. Coleman Fuel - (Coleman fuel C-2538, white gasoline, camping stove fuel, camping lantern fuel); (chemical formula - Coleman fuel is a mixture of hydrocarbons & doesn't have a single formula); flash point -27 degrees F (-33 degrees C); ignition temperature - not reported; explosive limit LEL is 0.7% - UEL not reported; vapor density 3.7; specific gravity .744; toxicity (3). A straight run, unrefined, petroleum distillate used in camping stoves and lanterns. Camp stove fuels in general have a carbon range of C5 - C11.
4. Ethyl Alcohol - (ethanol, grain alcohol), (C2H5OH), flash point 55 degrees F (13 degrees C); ignition temp. 689 degrees F (365 degrees C); explosive limits 3.5%-19.0%; vapor density 1.6; specific gravity 0.8; toxicity (0). A volatile, flammable, colorless liquid having a pleasant odor and miscible in water and many organic liquids. Principal uses are in alcoholic beverages, as a solvent in pharmaceuticals, cleaning preparations, and some antifreezes.
5. Ethyl Ether - (ether, diethyl ether), (C2H5)2O, flash point -49 degrees F (-45 degrees C); ignition temperature 356 degrees F (180 degrees C); explosive limits 1.9% - 36%; vapor density 2.6; specific gravity 0.7; toxicity (2). A volatile, highly flammable, colorless liquid which forms explosive peroxides under the influence of air and light and has a sweetish odor and is slightly miscible in water, methanol, and oils. Principle uses as a solvent in organic synthesis, smokeless powder and industrial solvents.
6. Fuel oil no. 1- (kerosene, range oil, coal oil, Jet - A (aviation) fuel); Chemical formula is a carbon range of C9 - C17; flash point 110 degrees F - 162 degrees F (42 degrees C - 72 degrees C); ignition temp. 410 degrees F (210 degrees C); explosive limits 0.7% - 5%; vapor density .7 - 5; specific gravity 0.81; Toxicity (3). A colorless, combustible, straight run petroleum distillate liquid having a characteristic odor miscible in petroleum solvents and immiscible in water. Principal uses as an ingredient in lamp oils, charcoal starter fluids, jet engine fuels and insecticides. K-1 kerosene has a low sulfur content and is used in portable space heaters.
7. Fuel oil no. 2 (home heating fuel, diesel fuel), Chemical formula is a carbon range of C9 - C23, flash point 126 degrees F-204 degrees F (52 degrees C- 96 degrees C); ignition temperature 494F (257C); explosive limits - not reported; vapor density greater than 1; specific gravity less than 1; toxicity (3). A light brown, combustible, straight run or cracked petroleum distillate consisting mostly of C9 - C23 range hydrocarbons. Principal uses include heating fuel in domestic or commercial atomizing type burners and as a fuel in diesel engines.
8. Gasoline - (gas, motor fuel) Chemical formula - gasoline is a blended mixture of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons; flash point -45 degrees F (-43 degrees C); ignition temp. 536 degrees F (280 degrees C) for 56 - 60 octane grade; explosive limits 1.4%-7.6%; vapor density 3.0 - 4.0; specific gravity 0.8; Toxicity (3). A highly flammable, blended liquid composed of more than 300 volatile hydrocarbon compounds manufactured from the fractionation or distillation of petroleum. Gasoline is the most commonly identified ignitable liquid accelerant reported by American forensic laboratories. Its principal use is as a fuel in spark ignited, internal combustion engines.
9. Isopropyl alcohol- (IPA, isopropanol, 2-propanol), (CH3 CHOHCH3), flash point 54 degrees F (12 degrees C); ignition temp. 750 degrees F (399 degrees C); explosive limits 2.5%-12.0%; vapor density 2.1; and specific gravity 0.79; Toxicity (3). A colorless, flammable liquid which is miscible in water, ether, and alcohol and having a pleasant odor. Principal uses as an ingredient in lacquers, rubbing alcohol, denaturant and lotions.
10. Kerosene - Refer to Fuel Oil #1. Kerosene is identical to Fuel Oil #1 from an investigator's standpoint.