Click on photo for more detail.
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.
|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
... 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