Fighting a fire fueled by bull semen

Yeah, that’s what you read.

American Digest:

Heated bull semen launched dangerous projectiles in every direction during an early morning inferno that caused firefighters to take cover at an Australian cattle-breeding facility Tuesday.

“The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building,” fire chief Chris Loeschenkohl told ABC News down under. read more

26 Comments on Fighting a fire fueled by bull semen

  1. …OK, THIS one’s a bit out of my experience as a FF/EMT, although the line “Heated Bull Semen” certainly evokes an image that doesn’t really go first to firefighting aspects of this, but there ARE some issues that could be common to other types of fires, so they deserve some consideration outside of the obvious “funny” aspects of this, so…

    First of all, it’s a fire. Fires are inherently dangerous no matter WHAT the structure is that’s burning. Structural loads change, supports weaken in asymmetrical fashion, floors and ceilings can NOT be trusted.

    THIS fire is obviously a biohazard issue, as I am fairly confident that bull semen can conduct diseases, some of which may cross over to humans. If you get any on you, it’s tough to determine forensically if it has any such potential or not, since you’re not going to discover it until well after the fact.

    Turnout gear does provide some protection, as there is generally a layer of rubberized protection in everything including the gloves, but it is NOT biohazard occlusive, and you DO have to take it OFF sometime, which will bring you (or someone) into contact with the outer layer. You can deploy standard hazardous materials protocols, such as requiring your firefighters to shower in hose water and a containment system after coming off the line, but this may be tricky because many rural departments do not have that kind of manpower, and the fire is not patient. It would be typical for a man to come out, grab another air bottle, then back at it, and this has the potential of contamination while you’re doing it.

    The cylinders are not helping. This is what’s called a “BLEVE”, or a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, and it’s one of the most dangerous things a firefighter may face. A confined liquid will boil when heated, and if it’s confinement has no pressure relief, it will explode quite violently – and unpredictably – when it exceeds the stresses on the container that it was never designed for. This can destroy entire neighborhoods when hydrocarbons are involved, but this is small containers and limited (I would THINK) quantities of actual bull semen boiling, but the cryogen is likely the culprit here as it is probably a liquid that does NOT take well to heating. This can obviously drive infected spikes of container material through the doughiest turnouts, and there are places that the Kevlar components don’t cover anyway, particularly where the Nomex hood is around the face and neck, so you might not get any damping at all. It could also send one of those spikes right through a face mask, and wouldn’t THAT be a treat.

    The only way to offset this is by applying water directly to the container. Unfortunately, this requires you get CLOSE to it.

    And you can’t tell by looking how CLOSE it is to rupturing.

    Depending on how it blows out, or up, it may just lose a welded end and launch at you like a missile. One of the coolest things I’ve seen like that involved propane propellant, which is – or at least, WAS – pretty common in cooking sprays like PAM. We were called to a house where the homeowner reported a loud explosion in their kitchen, but no concomitant fire. We looked and saw a perfectly normal gas range with a metal disk in the center of a corona of scorch marks, and a nice, regular hole in the ceiling above it. We found the remains of a PAM can loged in the attic joists. What happened was that someone set the can down in the center of the stove, which was where the pilot light was, and even with the stove OFF it happiliy heated the contents of the can – including the propane propellant – to it’s boiling point. The can broke pretty evenly along it’s bottom seam, and a missile was launched from the base of a thousand meals for a change in pace.

    Now multiply that by all the bull semen in storage. And make it bull semen instead of PAM. And place it in an industrial fireground.



    Good on those Aussies for dealing with that effectively. Not something you directly train for, obviously.

    It may have been very costly, too, depending on the determination of hazard. Again, not a direct comparison, but we had a company with a fire in a place that made printing ink. This contaminated every hose and turnout that entered the plant. It was determined that it was not possible to clean them to the point where they would be like uncontaminated and safe for re-use, so they were destroyed and replaced.

    THAT is very, very expensive.

    …I guess Australia has taxpayers like America does, though, and they’ll be paying for bull-semen carelessness for many, many years to, eh, “Come”, if so…

  2. …An old PJ O’Rouke, from back when he wasn’t a full-retard Never Trumper, offers some description of what the intended use of this is and how it’s applied, if anyone’s wondering…

    “Getting a cow in a family way is not accomplished, as I would have thought, with a bull and some Barry White tapes in a heart-shaped stall. It s like teenage pregnancy, only more so. The bull isn’t even around to get the cow knocked-up. Instead, there’s a liquid-nitrogen Thermos bottle full
    of frozen bull sperm (let’s not even think about how they get that) and a device resembling a cross between a gigantic hypodermic needle and the douche nozzle of the gods.

    George got a real farmer to come by and actually do the honors. So while I held the cow’s head and George held the cow’s middle, the real farmer, Pete, took the bovine marital aid and inserted it into a very personal and private place of the cow’s Then Pete squirted liquid dish soap on himself and inserted his right arm into an even more personal and private place of the cow’s, all the way up to the elbow.
    Pete did this not in order to have Robert Mapplethorpe take his photograph, but in order to grasp the inseminator tube through the intestine wall and guide the tube into the
    mouth of the uterus. It’s an alarming thing to watch, and I’m glad to say I didn’t watch it because I was at the cow’s other end. But I’ll tell you this, I will never forget the look on that cow’s face.”

    -P.J. O’Rourke, “Parliament of Whores”

    …He was a good guy before he endorsed Hillary, I recommend MOST of his pre-2016 works…

  3. Zonga
    SEPTEMBER 22, 2019 AT 1:55 PM

    “So in a nutshell they should deploy tactical nukes and call it a day?”

    …from orbit…

    …it’s the only way to be sure…

  4. …although truthfully, @Zonga, depending on what kind of area it’s in, nearby life hazards, nearby physical hazards, and wind, it may be prudent to, eh, “pull out” of interior firefighting operations and adopt a defensive posture, where you concentrate on protecting exposures and “surround and drown” the fire building with defensive, large-diameter lines and laddar-mounted nozzles and deck guns. This is highly situational and not a light decision for the Chief to make as it’s basically resigning to a large, possibly total, property loss…but, if all that’s at stake IS property, it CAN be replaced. Not easily (bull sperm!), or cheaply, but it CAN be replaced.

    Lives CAN’T.

    Firemen DO risk their lives, but not stupidly. No amount of bull sperm is worth a single firefighter’s life. And woe to the Chief that gambles with his men’s lives and loses. Now, you have a death, probably injuries from rescue attempts, and STILL lose the building.

    Good job.

    This did NOT happen at THIS event, and I’m not trying to second-guess this guy by any means, I don’t have enough information to even begin to do so. But it’s a reality that the guy in the white helmet better be focused on, and keep his options open by having enough manpower and equipment at hand for THIS scenario, as well..

  5. Dewars of liquid nitrogen exposed to a fire will get energetic. Don’t matter if it’s got bull happy sauce innit’ or not.

  6. Back in the day…

    Lived (still do, but not little anymore) in a small town where they had an outfit called Curtis Farms or Curtis Breeding and believe they might have supplied what was making the cow give SNS that look. Often had some rather loud noises “coming” from the “Bull Barn.” They had some unbelievable numbers attached (many thousands) to the various studs as to how many cows they had inseminated.

    Believe they were also a part of or associated with “Curtis Candy” until the mid sixties.

  7. …just to clarify, @Anymouse, the “cow” story was PJ O’Roukes. I was just relating it.

    Everything else was mine.

    I don’t claim anything that isn’t mine, so I’d be a terrible Democrat.

    …moslty, cows don’t like me, and I only like THEM with fries, but that’s a different story for another day…

  8. Well, I make a point of never thinking too deeply about what an egg really is – when I eat an egg:,fried, scrambled, boiled or poached. Not a lot of difference here from a pan of a dozen scrambled eggs. Both are just a reproductive body fluid, are they not? Now to forget that fact before I next want a western omelette.


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