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Forums > Social Discussion > "Firebreather's Lung" or ARDS

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Article moved to here
EDITED_BY: Malcolm (1194320079)

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura


Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:Originally Posted By: PeleBTW, imho LED's are far prettier to watch than fire ever was/is. I also hear that from the audience, but it's the danger the audience likes because people are sadistic. wink

so you're being a masochist and as such forming a co-dependency? wink wink wink

Personally I feel a basic connection to the element of fire and LED will never give me the satisfaction that I felt when spinning/ performing with fire. shrug

In contrast to what you're describing as your own motive, audience response has never been my prime focus and I perform(ed) with fire because I enjoy(ed) doing it. As over the years it became more of that "dirty chore" you're describing I slowly faded out on it.

As I feel it does belong here I'm merging my response from this thread too... though it makes my post rather lengthy...

Originally Posted By: PeleThe problem with dry fuels is that they aren't flammable, they are explosive. Flames can be controlled, to a lesser degree. Explosions can not. I've seen it and it's really fargin scary and just as dangerous as liquid, if not more.
Remember just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean it hasn't happened or that it's safe.

Tom, please tell me you're being fascetious when asking why not using lycopodium for this? Please? wink

you mean "facetious"? umm wink your word sounds little bit of a mix of "funny" and "fascist" wink

But no ma'm, I'm not. I've used it myself and the advantages of Lycopodium (and as in "solid fuels") vs. kerosene (as in "any other liquid") are:

1) that it does not contain any of the latter:

* a mixture of organic hydrocarbons like toluene and benzene. (which are quickly absorbed by the body and the brain)
* lead (which is absorbed by bone and fat in the brain and body and can stay there for 10 years)

[sic: I have earlier pointed out an article on petrol sniffing and I'm aware that the exposure to the content of petrol during fire breathing is far lower than whilst it's getting sniffed... please get the full article of ABC net here]

1-1) thus making it toxic, with the potential to cause short term effects such as

* hallucinations
* aggression
* increased libido [but who would mind that? wink ]
* hunger
* lack of coordination, staggering
* disorientation
* slurred speech
* coughing, wheezing
* vomiting
* slow reflexes

1-2) and long term effects such as in damaging

* brain
* kidneys
* liver
* immune system
* heart and lungs

2) that it is *umm* well, that: "solid" and as such not adhering to surfaces in the same way as "liquids".

Thus its potential to ignite other matter is far smaller.

Originally Posted By: PeleThe problem with dry fuels is that they aren't flammable, they are explosive. Flames can be controlled, to a lesser degree.

Whilst it is IMHO correct to say that flames as such are not as easy to control there is something wrong in your equation: Lycopodium or any such powder itself is not explosive (vs. fuel) - it is combustible due to the amount of particles and their distribution in the air. As this event is not taking place in an enclosed (very limited) environment, its potential hazards should be inferior to that of fuel.

For example "backfiring" should not occur, as the combustion depends on the distribution and amount...

3) Personally I have only heard of one accident that happened with Lycopodium, in which a friend blew it out of a prepared pipe whilst igniting it... only having forgotten to remove the "lid" (a cloth), which caused 2nd degree burns on a spectator.

Not saying that no other accidents happened - only they never got to my notice. [sic: You're welcome to point them out, if you got more]

Where on the other hand numerous accidents (that I heard of) have happened with liquids - you may remember a few reports yourself - in which performers AND/OR audiences sustained grievous injuries.

Apart from instances in which entire venues were set ablaze and the audience got trapped inside.

Two acquaintances got seriously injured. Both had been professional and very experienced. One chose a highly flammable liquid, resulting in the flame to backfire and another fell unconscious a day after a successful performance as from microscopic amounts entering his lungs.

4) when firebreathing one goes through significant amounts of fossil fuels - heeps more than required for a spin.

Anyone remotely concerned and considerate about the environment will ultimately cut back on his carbon footprint... or... "could" wink

I am almost certain that in my lifetime I will experience a tough regulation on fire performances/ performances incorporating fire. For one because of the latent stupidity of some performers and the fascination of the audience, merged with complete ignorance to the facts, files and necessary safety precautions.

There are two types of fire performers: bold performers and old performers wink - no pun intended, but I regard it as a skilled choice to limit potential and actual harm to ones self, the audience and the environment.

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:Why did you ask a question and then argue with the answer Tom? If you don't want the answer, don't ask the question.
In the end I have a lot of thoughts but you know what Tom? It's not worth it.
It's obvious you're more into insulting, and pushing your own opinions on others, despite the "smileys".

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK


Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:on reconsideration:

It doesn't matter whether my words were meant as an insult (which they were not). It's the actions that count. If you choose to poison your body and take the risk of grievous harm (for the reward of applause and attention) against better knowledge, past a certain age that might excuse you - then you might be a masochist. Not saying that you are. You might be. And (in my eyes) there is nothing wrong with that. Far away from casting a judgment on you for that matter.

I didn't mean to offend you, if that's the case - please excuse me.

Originally Posted By: PeleFeel free to ask anything. I'm happy to help. smile

Heard that before.

You know I don't like firebreathing - nothing new. I don't find arguments that make it worth promoting, only arguments against.

I'm asking what's wrong with Lycopodium? (and certainly am not the only one in the world asking this question) but instead of sharing your expertise you ask me back whether I'm serious (in a rather flippoyant kind-a way, also including a smiley). You bet I am serious asking this question or other I wouldn't. (or i'd include wink )

I can understand to a certain degree (when it comes to "making enormous fire balls and holding them for an excessive time") but is this what it's all about?

"Miners lung" got mentioned... which means that the dust inhaled will also have negative effects on your health... is that what you refer to?

Originally Posted By: PeleI've seen it and it's really fargin scary and just as dangerous as liquid, if not more.

you're referring to Lycopodium? or to any other (itself) non-flammable solid powder? I can't get my arms around that statement and regard it misleading.

You can't help but inhale part of the cloud you create - any which way (which should lead to avoiding the entire thing by just NOT DOING IT altogether) however an (itself) non-combustible substance drives its effect from the distribution of particles in the air. both ways (ahead of the source of ignition and after it hits a surface) this distribution is no longer -> combustion stops. which is not the case with combustible liquids.

I fail to understand: it looks scary ... and it should, no?

If I'd ask: "on which color I should pass a traffic light?" and you answer "yellow" - I got reasons to argue, wouldn't you agree?

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1256182203)

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

Doc Woolfie
Doc Woolfie

Oi! ya think it'll burn
Location: Boise Id
Member Since: 9th Dec 2009
Total posts: 2
Posted:What an eye opener!!
Guess I won't be as tempted now to stuff my face with flame
Thanks for the post

Build a man a fire he'll be warm for the night,
Set a man on fire and he'll be warm the rest of his life!

Location: Wisconsin, US
Member Since: 1st Jan 2010
Total posts: 14
Posted:Thank you both for sharing your knowledge and (unfortunate) experience with us. Pele: as you know, I'm sure, you are strong--in mind (to know the dangers, face the dangers, and experience the dangers) and at heart (to continue with new found pride and respect for the art).
I do, however, wonder, as Vanize, as to how ARDS would develop should someone inhale the alcohol. (Note: curious, only, at an academic standpoint--I have, ignorantly and arrogantly enough, spit with alcohol before and will never attempt it again).


they call me SPITFIRE

If they fire you, burn you, blast you... Ignite them.

I DO NOT AGREE with a word you say, but I WILL DEFEND TO THE DEATH your RIGHT TO SAY IT.

Location: Wisconsin, US
Member Since: 1st Jan 2010
Total posts: 14
Posted:I suppose I should read more than just one page of comments from now on. O,o lol
Well... after reading this whole thread, I've noticed one thing that is not mentioned in here whatsoever.
I am not saying this to advocate fire breathing. I am saying this to help those who are stupid enough to breathe fire (and experienced or not, it is stupid... it's just an acquired art we enjoy):

Once you learn your own way of holding your required supplies, I would advise you to find a way to measure your breathing so you don't need to inhale instantly after spitting, and even further, find a method of covering your face before inhaling--without throwing the fuel or the torch to do so. Per se, fill your fuel bottle with just enough--and no more--fuel to spit and then proceed to discard it before spitting. This will leave you with a free hand that will not ignite--should you need to inhale or cover your face in any way.
For those that spit to entertain, add the move to your choreography, perhaps draping the towel (you SHOULD have in hand to wipe your mouth with) over your wrist as a "sleeve" of grace. wink
Again: this is not a sure way to avoid damage, but a way to perhaps reduce the risks of ARDS and what Pele has gone through.
And, again, I do not advise anyone who does not have the capacity to respect and fear fire to breathe it. Nor am I advising you to spit without any safety information.
Know all you can. Research. Be educated. Always prepare for the worst case scenario--because it could be you.


EDITED_BY: ss13 (1262930614)

they call me SPITFIRE

If they fire you, burn you, blast you... Ignite them.

I DO NOT AGREE with a word you say, but I WILL DEFEND TO THE DEATH your RIGHT TO SAY IT.


Reincarnated Woodelf
Location: Neverland
Member Since: 19th Dec 2009
Total posts: 17
Posted:BIG thanks to both of you. Not many people dissect a mistake so thoroughly as Pele did, and I never saw an article about fire eating so detailed as Doc's.
I actually had problems with respecting fire safety, and reading your posts, that ends here and now.

Also, it is always amazing to see people learn from 'bad' things that happen to them. It makes me regain respect for the human race or at least remember its good sides.
I bow to you...

Aliens abducted me! They made me wear a funny hat.


Member Since: 21st Apr 2010
Total posts: 2
Posted:cuoc song k co j la k vuot qua duoc

EDITED_BY: camly (1271813057)


Location: canada
Member Since: 8th Oct 2008
Total posts: 99
Posted:I had a accident last summer and im not sure I wish to breath fire anymore.

I was on the queen charlote islands, these barely populated and beautiful mountainous islands a 8 hour ferry ride off the cost of BC canada. me and my traveling partner and some people we met went out to party on the north tip of the island, about a hour drive away from the nearest houses where anyone even lived, about a hour and a half from the little town.

Anyways my friend locked the keys in the car, not wanting to break a window to drive back we decided to wait till morning to walk and call for help. Out of boredome a guy their started spinning fire with white gas. I have a lot of experience breathing fire and know well what im doing, One I only used white gas once before though, and knew it was a lot more dangerous then kerosene. But I guess somewheres in my brain I thought I had to show off, which is where I should have caught my bad judgement.

Anyways I breathed fire with the white gas, made a few big fireballs, It was really cold and wet and I couldn't feel that their was still fuel on my face after I wiped it off, apparently didn't wipe it good enough, the fire blew back, light my face on fire and I rolled on the ground trying to put it out, by time someone came to their sense enough to smother it with a beach towel, my face was covered in 2nd degree burns, and I was trapped on the beach untill morning. I am lucky I didn't inhale any of it or I probably would have died, im also lucky I have no bad scarring from it. The doctor told me if I burned my lungs up and got fuel in them, the hospital (which was an hour and a half drive away) was so poorly equiped and staffed they would of had to airlift me to vancouver...

just my experience with fire breathing. After years of experience, don't ever think you still don't have to be strictly vigilant when you breath fire.

The less people know the more they believe


poi addict
Location: cali
Member Since: 18th Sep 2010
Total posts: 196
safe fire breathing without worry of
ARDs grin

to spin or not to spin, that is the question.

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