Types of Fire Accelerants

Ignitable liquids are often used as accelerants in the case of arson related fires. An accelerant works to speed up the rate at which a fire spreads, and inevitably increases the amount of damage caused by the fire. Accelerants can also cause an explosion to occur, which can not only destroy your home but can also prove fatal to family members inside. If a fire occurs in your home, a thorough inspection for accelerants will be conducted for legal and insurance purposes.



Acetone is a common accelerant used in arson-related fires, though it is so common, it can also serve as an accelerant in an accidental fire. Acetone is one of the primary ingredients in nail polish remover; a common household product. Acetone has an ignition temperature of 869 degrees F.

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According to Interfire.org, gasoline is a mixture of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons and is highly flammable, making it one of the most dangerous accelerants. In arson related fires, gasoline is the most commonly used accelerant according to American Forensic Laboratories. Gasoline has an ignition temperature of 536 degrees F.


Isopropyl Alcohol

Like acetone, isopropyl alcohol is found in many common household products including rubbing alcohol and lacquer. Isopropyl alcohol has an ignition temperature of 750 degrees F. Isopropyl alcohol is colorless and is described as having a pleasant odor.


Kerosene is commonly used in range stoves, lamps and other household items. Unlike other accelerants, kerosene is combustible, not flammable. This makes kerosene more likely to cause an explosion than other accelerants. Kerosene has an ignition temperature of 410 degrees F and a flash point of 110 degrees F.


Paint Thinner

Paint thinner is another common household product used to strip paint from surfaces. It is a complex petroleum distillate and has an ignition temperature of 473 degrees F. Paint thinner is a clear, combustible liquid with a petroleum-like odor.


Turpentine is used as a drying agent for paint thinner and is also a common household product, often found in garages. While the chemical makeup varies from one manufacturer to another, turpentine generally has an ignition temperature of 488 degrees F.