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RayS

fire extinguisher (a little advise)

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RayS
I had a near death experience the other day. This is how I discovered the tank leaking at the shut off valve. I have this 16hp clamped to a movable bench and I am very grateful that it was not bolted to my work bench that is fastened to my garage wall. If it would have been my garage would have burnt down and I would have lost my tractors. Gas was leaking on the starter and when I hit the switch to start the engine it caught fire. I didn`t at that time have a fire extinguisher. I am very surprised that the tank did not explode for it had fire coming out the vent hole in the gas cap. I didn`t know if I should run or get the motor out of the garage. So I decided to stay in there and get the engine out of the garage before I lost everything. I know I probably should have run, but decided if fire was coming out the cap it was not going to explode. Well, I grabbed the bench with the engine on fire and headed for the yard. Once I had it in the yard I went for water. Saved the garage and the engine. I am very surprised that tank didn`t explode. If you don`t have a fire extinguisher get one.

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Talntedmrgreen
Wow Ray...that's a spooky experience. I have both a large water and a small chemical extinguisher within feet of the workbench. Never really thought of needing one, just have had them sitting around since we moved here. The big ol water extinguishers are great for putting out the hot coals of a late nite bonfire out back.

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DaveBsACs
That is a good point.Everyone should have one and make sure it is charged as well.That was a tough call but you kind of had to do something as giving up without a fight would have haunted you. Unless you have had a fire one might not think about an extinguisher or two being handy. I have three in sight of my bench-need I say more?

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larry8200
Thats scary, I have always kept several dry chemical extinguishers around and make sure they are charged. Cheap insurance. Your doubly lucky in that water can cause oil/gas fires to spread. I think Co2 extinguishers are best, they dont make a mess but are larger and more expensive.

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SmilinSam
Got one hanging by the door, been there for years. I smack the bottom every once in a while with a rubber mallet to keep the stuff inside loosened up, and check the gauge to make sure its in the green.

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PhanDad
Ray, Glad to hear that your event turned out to be a minor, not major. As you said, it's always good to have a fire extinguisher handy. The gas tank didn't explode because the flame can't propagate through the small vent hole and also vapor space in the tank was probably too rich to be flammable (not enough air). Flammable storage tanks have flame arrestors on their vent lines that have very small passages or mesh to prevent the flame from traveling back into the tank. In your case, the heat from the fire was causing fuel to evaporate and when it left the vent hole, it mixed with air and burned - just like a butane lighter. Now if your work space was enclosed and the gas leaked for a while and there was a flammable mixture around the engine, when you hit the starter, it would have been another story. That's why is extremely important to work in well ventilated areas when using flammable liquids or gases.

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OrangeMetalGuy
Very lucky, glad it turned out ok! I have found (Home Depot sells 'em, probably everybody else too) a nice extinguisher, the Tundra extinguisher, it's the size of a large spray can. According to the mfr it sprays a lot longer than a regular extinguisher. It's good for all types of fires, just pop off the top and spray, no pin to fool with. I keep one by my bed.

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HerbP
Back in the old days of Halon, our computer room had a whole halon system plus handheld Halon extinguishers in the ancillary rooms. When Halon became outlawed, all those extinguishers were replaced and I inherited the old ones that were still fully charged with Halon.. I have had occasion to use them and I sure do appreciate them... They make no mess whatsoever and the fire goes out instantly... Our toaster oven caught fire one day, out came the halon extinguisher and poof, it was out instantly... I was welding on a portable bench and unbeknownst to me, a molten ball of metal attached itself to the side of a can of weld-through-primer and burned through the can... I didn't notice the mini-flame thrower spraying lit flame at my welding glove until I stopped the bead and lifted my helmet... Halon took care of that as well... I also have chemical extinguishers wherever I have the halon ones, in case they fail... I mean, they _are_ almost 20 years old now.. I don't buy the cheapie Home Depot extinguishers with their plastic valves and questionable shelf life... I buy my chemical extinguishers from the local safety supply shop that refills and recertifies extinguishers... Every few years I return the old ones and they give me newly recertified ones... Cost is about the same as the ones I can get from Home Depot. Apparently sometime in the 80s, they added something to the chemical extinguishers that prevented the contents from caking so you no longer have to smack them periodically... I'm accident prone so I take my preparedness seriously.

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rfsmith1952
Can't say it enough, safety first. I've had a few scary moments, most of them self-inflicted. Pure dumbness, and, they happen in an instant, and can change things forever.

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ridgerunner
I'm glad to hear everything is ok. One thing you can do to complement a fire extinguisher in a shop that won’t cost you any money. Is to have a five gallon bucket filled with water, and keep a couple old large bath or beach towels soaking in it. If a small fire starts up like your Briggs did, you can throw them over it to snuff out the flames. I do a lot of side work, here at my house, in my shop welding on cars as well as welding inside of them (roll cages, subframe connectors, etc.) The five gallon bucket with towels, is always ready to go, along with a large ABC extinguisher. A large soaking wet towel, will do wonders to a small fire, and it doesn’t cost you anything (free)...what more could you ask for.

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MysTiK
I always wonder if the extinguisher on the wall will work if needed. Anyway, I bet it took Ray longer to type the story than it did to happen. Ray wins the "get the engine out of the garage award", in record time, for 2011. Seriously, sometimes you can do amazing things, just cos ya know there's only one thing to do. Near death is not something to play with. Been there; wasn't looking for it; wasn't looking at all actually - and suddenly it all mattered. Also good info, Phandad. The best part of these stories is reading the first person account. sm01

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GLPointon
Good going Ray, glad to here you and the tractors are ok. My advice is have 2 extingushers, 1 near your work area for quick response and 2nd by the exit door in case you cant get to the 1st one. When I went to fire school they said most kitchen grease fires could be put out but people have their only fire extingshr. under the sink too close to the fire to reach. they said always have it away from range/sink area...towards the exit ;) my2cw...glad your ok

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Hydro-Manic
Ray glad your okay! You would be greatly missed if even for 24hrs on this site. Maybe time for dry sprinkler system install. Easy to do! Every home will have them in future.Gotta protect them machines lol. I have a couple of the spray cans got at homedepot 8 bucks i think. I have Clayton 1800 wood furnace in garage Ducted to interior heat plenum,I'm extra careful with gas in attached garage.Just vapors in there scare me.

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RedbarnRick
Have an extra pair of jeans hanging up in your shop so you don't get seen with a wet spot after putting out the fire! Scary! Glad you are fine, great advice to get the extinguishers up and checked occasionally.

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HubbardRA
Ray, you were very lucky. As Bill said above, the tank did not explode because there was not the necessary air-fuel ratio in the tank to support combustion. The portion of the tank that did not have liquid in it was full of gasoline vapor, not air, there was not enough air for the fuel in the tank to ignite.M You should keep at least a 2 pound dry chemical extinguisher in the garage. Dry chemical will work on both fuel fires and electrical fires. Never try to use water on a fuel fire, it will just cause it to spread since gasoline floats on top of water. Fuel fires need to be smothered so that they cannot get sufficient air to burn. My son caught a motorcycle engine on fire in his garage. He grabbed the bike and pushed it out the door, but did not stop pushing till it went into his pond beside the garage. Water will put the fire out when the entire bike becomes submerged.:D

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RayS
quote:
Originally posted by RedbarnRick
Have an extra pair of jeans hanging up in your shop so you don't get seen with a wet spot after putting out the fire! Scary! Glad you are fine, great advice to get the extinguishers up and checked occasionally.
I probably would just take the pants off an walk in the house. I am not bashful.:D I guess I got lucky because water put this one out.

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