One type of fire that can be prevented, is closet fires, build a small closet with double 1/2 rock interior, install a pull chain with 100W A lamp, you will be able to demo, a closet fire every half hour, fill the closet with cardboard boxes and rags, right up to the light bulb.
And don't forget to do the demo, out in the open lot!
What is the most common type of electrical fire? Or even a top 5 or 10 most common and let’s pick from that. Do you want to simulate a frayed cord spark on to drapes? Loose connection on a receptacle burning the insulation back? Or for the more dramatic, drop a wrench across the line side of the main service and let the molten metal spray onto the gas can for the lawn mower?
When my mom used to clean houses she walked in on a fire where the metal coverplate to the dryer recpt. came loose and dropped across the 220 on the plug. I don't know if the breaker popped (I assume it did) but the subsequent sparks had the laundry room on fire when she showed up and let herself in to clean. Lucky for the homeowner and the dog the way it timed out.
If you want to show what happens to house wire when it has a severe overload, get the bigger Weller soldering gun. Change the copper soldering tip with a loop of romex wire (about 4 inches long) and pull its trigger switch. The soldering gun has inside a transformer that converts the 120VAC to some very low AC voltage but at high amperage that normally is passed thru the soldering tip. Something like 500 amps. (I measured the voltage across the tip terminals, 300mV, and the wattage consumed, 200W, and if the transformer is perfectly efficient, that's 666 amps. I said 500 amps guessing some losses in the wattage delivered by the transformer to the tip).
The house wire insulation would start to melt and smoke and burn. Why you shouldn't use pennies in the fusebox...
[This message has been edited by wa2ise (edited 09-15-2006).]
I was thinking you could put 4 14-2 cables thru a few joist for more than 24" in a 1" hole and then not derate them. Run them all to mostly unused receptacle outlet circuits in bedrooms and so forth. From all the stuff I read lately this will instantly burst into flames, energized or not.