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Mar 24

How to control incendiary bomb fires, World War II week by week

Newspapers try to have helpful features, for example, how to carve a turkey, how to prune a rose bush or how to control incendiary bomb fires.
World War II would bring up public service topics for newspapers that would not have been imagined in earlier years.
This article and photos went into detail on the differences between water and sand in controlling a magnesium and thermite fires.

March 30, 1942 advice on how to control fires due to enemy bombing, in the Telegram-Tribune.

To be honest, I don’t think one newspaper article is enough training to be effective in this situation.
For example, water can shorten burn time but since magnesium extracts oxygen from water this method can result in explosion. Remember use a well broken water spray, not a steady stream. And while you are inside make sure the furniture and drapes aren’t on fire as well. This could interfere with your progress.
Sand can deprive the fire of oxygen but the metal will start to burn again if exposed to air. In this case when the bomb is smothered with sand carry the bomb outside in a metal pail. Once you are outside smother the outdoor bombs as well to hide light from the enemy.
This warning was inserted between picture groups… (Note: All pictures are based on assumption bomb is discovered immediately and steps taken to control it. If there is delay, room may be on fire and this fire should be fought with water before combatting bomb.)
Usually civilians wisely went to bomb shelters and professional firefighters were left the task of civil defense.
By the end of the war, technology of mass destruction would be refined to the point that large swaths of cities were destroyed by an airborne fleet of bombers.
Dresden and Tokyo would be left in cinders, retribution for earlier Axis attacks on Pearl Harbor, Nanking, London and Rotterdam. Haunting images of those cities filled newsreels, text books and encyclopedias.
Beyond imagination was the then unbuilt atomic bomb.

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