It was a fine blaze

“Sir Ernest and Mr. Wild carried out a very interesting, if costly, experiment whilst I was ill; in fact I am half inclined to think that they seized that occasion to obviate my protests, for they said nothing about it until it was over. Wishing to determine the effect of a petrol fire on the ice itself as a possible means of cutting the ship out of the floe, they set fire to about 100 gallons of petrol in a hollow in the ice. The cat was out of the bag therewith.”

“It was a fine blaze—the first time any of us had seen petrol burning in bulk—and there was a fine pool of water on the ice, about an inch deep, that was all! It refroze in about 10 minutes. As a matter of fact the petrol was condemned in any case as the cans had been damaged in the pressure upheaval on August 1, and it would have been risky to have had possibly leaky cans on board again, but it seemed like vandalism to this burn it all up in a flash to settle an argument.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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