With increasing ethanol use comes a firefighting challenge

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The nation’s drive to use more alternative fuel carries a danger many communities have been slow to recognize: Ethanol fires are harder to put out than gasoline ones and require a special type of firefighting foam.

The Billings Fire Department has the specialized foam, but many fire departments around the country don’t have it, don’t have enough of it or are not well-trained in how to apply it, firefighting experts say. It is also more expensive than conventional foam.

“It is not unusual to find a fire department that is still just prepared to deal with traditional flammable liquids,” said Ed Plaugher, director of national programs for the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

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