Small Fire Occurs on Mir Space Station
News story originally written on February 24, 1997
A crack in an oxygen-generating device on the Mir space station caused a
small fire on the night of February 24. The fire caused some damage to hardware
on the station and the crew was exposed to heavy smoke for about five minutes.
No one was injured.
During the fire, the crew of Mir wore masks to protect themselves from breathing
in smoke. After the fire was extinguished, the on-board physician (U.S.
astronaut Jerry Linenger) made sure the crew was still in good health. The crew
continues to wear masks and goggles until the atmosphere of the Mir station has
been proven safe to breathe.
The fire occurred in Kvant module 1 at 10:35pm, Moscow time. It burned for about
90 seconds. It was extinguished by crewmembers using foam from three fire
extinguishers. The fire is believed to have occurred due to a crack in an oxygen
generator's shell, causing its contents to leak into hardware and circuitry.
Damage to some of Mir's hardware occured due to the excessive heat. The
generator and its surrounding hardware was destroyed as well as a few outer
insulation layers on various cables. Yet, all of the space station's systems are
still operating normally, according to Russian reports.
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