Set fire in Malaysia and petrol safety advice

Set fire in Malaysia and petrol safety advice

Set fire in Malaysia and petrol safety advice

Thirty one actors have suffered burns after a stunt went wrong on the set of Chinese New Year Movie Amazing Spring.  Eleven of the cast members remain hospitalised.

The accident happened when three buildings were set on fire for a scene while filming in Bandar Bukit Puchong in Malaysia.  Firemen were reportedly on standby.   However, a spokesperson for the production commented, “The vaporisation process ended up on the clothes of the actors, and when the petrol was ignited, their clothes caught fire.”

“We didn’t expect… the fire to spread through the ground and read the cast members,” said Jack Lim, the executive producer for the Amazing Spring, during a press conference at the Sunway Medical Centre. “We shook the hands of every family member of the victims and bowed to them.”

The injured cast members include actress Joey Leong (24), Cedric Loo (30), and veteran actress Sharon Yeung Pan-pan (59).

Sunway Medical Centre’s Dr Seow Vei Ken, the head of the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department, confirmed that Yeung sustained 7% of second-degree burns on the left side of her face, her right arm and both her legs. Leong sustained 5% of second-degree burns on both legs.

“It will take about three weeks for them to recover,” he stated at the press conference.

The rapid ignition of the petrol vapour can be clearly seen in this video of the incident:

Nick Hayes, 1st Option Safety Adviser and Fire Expert says,

Petrol can be a very dangerous substance; it is a highly flammable liquid and can give off vapour which can easily be set on fire.

When not handled safely, it has the potential to cause a serious fire and/or explosion with a high risk of serious personal injury if petrol is stored or used in an unsafe way.

Petrol is a flammable colourless liquid with a very low flash point. At temperatures above -40°C, petrol produces a colourless vapour that is capable of being ignited by a flame, spark or heat source.  In practice, this means petrol vapour is capable of being ignited at any time, resulting in a fire and/or explosion.

The vapour from petrol is heavier than air and can build up in low lying areas such as drains, underground services or inspection pits.

Care must be taken to avoid handling petrol in or near these areas and must not be handled near a source of ignition, e.g. naked flame, smoking, heaters, hot engines, etc.

Vapour from petrol can affect a large area around the source and is known as the “hazard zone”. This area may extend to at least 4.5m in all directions and up to 1m above the source.  Take account of the local conditions and environment, such as wind and sloping ground, as the potentially flammable area around petrol may be extended significantly.

Petrol vapour will travel down slopes and can be carried by the wind.

If you need to have a ‘fire’ effect in your production, ensure you use a competent SFX Expert. They will avoid using petrol whenever they can, and instead use such things a LPG Flame Bars, Flammable Gels, Lighting effects etc. all of which are far safer.

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Paul Greeves
Paul.Greeves@1stOptionSafety.com