Guislante Joseph, woman burned over 80 percent of her body, shows dangers of flash fires

6:54 PM, Jun 2, 2012   |    comments
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Videos posted online show how quickly a flash fire can start
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Tampa, Florida - It was a flash fire that burned more than 80 percent of a woman's body on Friday night while she was at her home on the 2900 block of Cord Street.

Flash fires can happen in an instant and can be started by something as simple as hair spray meeting up with a heat source.

"A flash fire is usually very quick, like the snap of a finger," says Debra Sue Warshefski with Tampa Fire Rescue.

Videos posted online show just how quickly a flash fire can start because of built up medical-grade oxygen, or how a static electricity discharge can provoke gas fumes to ignite.

"It basically ignites the vapor and then it extinguishes itself because there's no longer any more fuel," says Warshefski.

That's unfortunately all it took for 38-year-old Guislante Joseph to suffer second and third degree burns. Flash fires extinguish so quickly, a smoke detector won't even sense one. Joseph's daughter didn't realize her mother had been burned until she ran out of the bathroom covered in flames.

"Even though on the exterior, you may have singed eyebrows or something of that nature, internally, you may have damage that you may or may not even be aware of," Warshefski says.

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