Tornados are terrifying as they are. But what if they’re made of fire?
Firefighters in Derbyshire in the United Kingdom were witness to the terrifying yet spectacular sight of the “firenado” – fire tornado – while tackling an industrial blaze at a plastics factory. The whirling column of red-hot fire, as you can see in the breathtaking videos, reached a height of more than 15 metres (50 ft), surrounded by plumes of thick, black smoke.
The video was posted online by the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Ashby Station, which helped tackle the blaze. “Whilst we were firefighting at Occupation Lane we witnessed a firenado or a fire whirl,” they wrote. “It’s created as cool air enters the top of the hot air causing a swirl similar to how a tornado is formed.”
According to The Independent, a firenado is technically called a “fire whirl”. It’s mechanism is similar to that of a tornado, and it pulls in debris, dust, ash and combustible gases to fuel its growth. In 1923, a fire whirl actually killed at least 38,000 people in Japan when it swept through Tokyo’s Hifukysho-Ato district.
Intriguingly, this version of a tornado wasn’t the only one to spring into existence in the past few days. A few days ago, a rare waterspout was spotted on the Italian coast.
People posted videos (below) of the waterspout – which is caused when a tornado sucks up seawater – as it passed close to the shore at Pantelleria, an island southwest of Sicily. As an Instagram user wrote, “I was in the water just before, and it passed in front of me while I was on the rocks.”