The pool fire of liquid sodium is important for safety assessment of fast breeder type of nuclear reactors. In the present work, the consequences of liquid sodium pool fire are simulated on a small scale in a table-top set-up which facilitates controlled atmosphere and ease of visualization. The set-up consists of an electrically heated pan enclosed in a borosilicate glass top. The pan is filled with solid sodium and is heated slowly until autoignition takes place. The subsequent evolution of the aerosol-containing fumes and temperature of the ambient in the immediate vicinity of the pool are monitored throughout the duration of the fire. Results from these experiments show that the flame temperature within a few millimeters from the pool surface is of the order of 1550 K and that it rapidly reduces to -500 K within a distance of 10 mm. Repeated experiments with directional oxidant supply confirm high sensitivity of the spread of the pool fire to the availability of oxygen. © 2009 Combustion Institute. All rights reserved.