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1964 aluminized fire-protection suit

1964 aluminized fire-protection suit

June 24, 1964: Test engineer John Hand emerges after walking through a 3,000-degree gasoline fire to demonstrate a new aluminized fire-protection suit.

This photo by staff photographer Bruce Cox accompanied the following article in the June 25, 1964, Los Angeles Times:

Test engineer John Hand stepped confidently into an inferno of blazing gasoline Wednesday, and then stepped out unscathed – almost.

The aluminized fire protection suit which he was demonstrating to officials at the County Fire Dept. Test Center at 1320 N. Eastern Ave. had protected him from the 3,000-deg. flames, all right, but it had become a little singed in the process.

“Being something of a coward, I don’t think I’ll try it again,” Hand admitted as he gazed apprehensively at a hole scorched in his flashy coveralls.

“But the suit did what it was intended to,” he added. “I stayed cool as a cucumber in there.”

The suit, developed for rescue work by Protection, Inc., of Los Angeles, is designed to give temporary protection to firemen working close to high temperature blazes, Hand said.

Two advantages over conventional asbestos suits are the relatively low cost and durability of the aluminized suit, he said.

Fire Chief Keith Klinger praised the new outfit, saying ones like it may well be the fire uniforms of the future.

Aluminized suits are in common use for fire protection today.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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