Damage Due to Fire
[Updated 3/12/2003]

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Cause of Fire

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The fire was started by parts falling from an overhead radiant gas heater. 

Sadly, if the aircraft had been moved about two feet to the left or three feet back, the glowing parts would have fallen harmlessly to the floor.

 
The firemen did an excellent job of extinguishing the fire with minimum damage to the Wright Flyer.  When they first entered the hangar, smoke was so heavy they were unable to see.  As a result, the fireman used infrared imaging to determine the source of the fire.  The burning muslin cover was removed from the aircraft and thrown outside in the snow. 
Detailed photos:
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Distant View high view  
cover on lower wing vaporized 
    (excepting where it lay on ribs and spar) 
 
Close Views Upper Wing  
Note burn pattern on lower leading edge  
Strut and spar burn pattern 
    note: wood, fitting, cord undamaged  
Burn pattern on muslin wing cover 
     You can see how  a burning edge radiates outward from an initial contact from a falling ember. 
 
Heavily burned portions lower bow and ribs  
upper bow ... complete burn-through 
 
Rest of the Wright Flyer is undamaged undamaged portion  
sign unburned even though hanging between burned upper and lower wings 
 
Physical damage:  
... fireman tripped over rear rudder, banged into several ribs and perhaps broke a rib removing the smoldering wing cover (the rib pocket hadn't burned through yet?)
rear rudder and struts  
bent rib  
busted rib  
 
 
 
Additional photos
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Address of this webpage: www.mn1903flyer.us/fire.htm
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