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Old 09-05-2023, 01:04 PM
Kerry Pinkerton's Avatar
Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
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Default Check your fire extinguishers

Had a near disaster today. Messing with the roadster...just started it. Heard pop and my friend yelled fire! My Chinese electric fuel pump shorted out. Quickly turned off the ignition and ran to the fire extinguisher. Empty holder. Ran to another, grabbed it and ran back, pulled the handle and nothing.

Fortunately, my buddy was on the way back with his. And the fire was quickly extinguished.

Could have been really bad. No harm to the roadster other than a couple burned wires.

I've already ordered 4 new Kidde extinguishers for the shop.
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Last edited by Steve Hamilton; 09-06-2023 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 09-07-2023, 10:07 PM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
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Glad it turned out ok, Kerry.

I had a similar experience at the local HD dealership 30 yrs ago. A bike in service caught fire, along with my friend who was working on it…. While everyone else freaked out and ran away, I used 4 extinguishers plus oil dry to put out the flames. All extinguishers had valid inspection tags but two were total duds. It gets real pretty fast when you squeeze that handle and nothing happens.
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Old 09-08-2023, 12:37 AM
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Superleggera Superleggera is offline
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Check your fire extinguishers and also WHAT TYPE they are as well. Friend had a titanium fire (mill swarf recycle bin) when a car backfired, and something shot across the shop into the swarf. [One of those million to one deals!] The standard ABC fire extinguishers were dead from old age. There was no class D "dry powder" for metal fires. They grabbed a water hose from outside and tried that -- and you know what happened next with H2O on a fierce titanium fire. Welding area was adjacent to the HAAS with a hydrogen gas welding setup, propane and acetylene tanks. It got pretty spectacular. Total loss along with several million dollars of vintage racecars. Nobody hurt. Insurance battle took two years and only covered a fraction of what was lost. A few functional ABC and D type fire extinguishers would have been cheap in comparison and hindsight -- or would have bought time for the fire department to arrive. Friend didn't rebuild as it was decades of work gone, parts, engineering drawings, tooling, equipment, vintage racecars and more. He bought a sailboat instead as he had no desire to start over at zero.
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Last edited by Superleggera; 09-08-2023 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 09-08-2023, 01:48 AM
Jaroslav Jaroslav is offline
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I have to look into that too. As long as it doesn't burn, no one is afraid.
I once adjusted the level in the carburetor. I had the cover removed. The gas level was open. The float was adjusted by bending the metal lever that closed the valve. The engine spit into the intake manifold. In a second the carburettor was on fire.
I was a little younger. It gave me such strength that I blew the flame away.... I didn't let it burn. I have no idea who breathed so much for me, but it was some kind of miracle. Before I could find anything or even run to get a fire extinguisher, the entire workshop would be in flames. So this kind of stupidity must be done outside with a fire extinguisher behind your ass.

But I understand the fellow with the sailboat. In addition, he went to see where the water was that he missed then......Maybe he extended his life by the change of environment.
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Old 09-09-2023, 04:46 PM
Reno Reno is offline
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Good one Kerry. My extinguishers were in the "around to it" file, but I hung the new shop extinguisher today.
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Old 09-09-2023, 06:04 PM
Marc Bourget Marc Bourget is offline
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Extinguishers are "necessary evils" and I've often forgotten.


But being around when the tech re-charges them it appears they settle to a "hard" condition over time.


Anybody know if a monthly/quarterly/?? exercise of tipping upside down and shaking would lengthen the recharging intervals?
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Old 09-09-2023, 08:17 PM
DarkLightning DarkLightning is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Bourget View Post
Extinguishers are "necessary evils" and I've often forgotten.


But being around when the tech re-charges them it appears they settle to a "hard" condition over time.


Anybody know if a monthly/quarterly/?? exercise of tipping upside down and shaking would lengthen the recharging intervals?
That's a good question. We had inspections by the company FD. I don't know what all they checked. Been retired 8 years, so I can't ask. I have a couple of extinguishers and would be interested in knowing if they needed shaking or inverting, or both.
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Old 09-10-2023, 06:49 AM
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Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
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Just to add a touch of irony. Yesterday, I turned the key on my forklift and it burst into flames. A much bigger fire. I ran to my extinguisher hook that had been empty four days earlier and grabbed the extinguisher. By the time I got back to the it was much bigger but the extinguisher knocked it right down.

What are the odds. My 4 new extinguisher are here but still in boxes...at least they are in the shop. I haven't investigated the source of the flames yet. It's not on the side with the carb so I suspect a crack in the fuel line.
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Old 09-10-2023, 06:53 AM
cvairwerks cvairwerks is offline
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Marc: Flipping and shaking dry chemical extinguishers on a regular basis will help to prevent the powder from packing into a solid mass. Long years ago I got a number of dry chemical ones that were going to be scrapped from a building demolition. All of them had been hanging in cabinets and brackets for years, and only moved during the yearly checks. Once we opened them up, we found the powder was one solid mass and it too several days to wet it enough to start breaking it up and flushing it out. The local fire extinguisher guys told us to toss them in the scrap pile after their inspection...too much corrosion in the bottoms of them.

As to Class D units, they are great of you can afford them. A bucket of very fine sand can be used as an aid to putting out Class D fires. It won't do it as quick, but it does help cool the metal and that will ultimately help kill the fire.
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Last edited by cvairwerks; 09-10-2023 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 09-10-2023, 08:21 AM
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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I am big on fire safety. Many years ago, fumes from a fresh undercoating job went up when a welding spark went under the car. Also had an old Cadillac arrive with a leaking carburetor. Both turned out all right due to plenty of fire extinguishers, although it certainly took a few years off my life.

I have large extinguishers by every garage door, next to every welding bench, on the walls every 50 feet and small ones attached to welding machine and cart. My booth has a separate system by code. Also have back arrest valves on the torches. I was taught years ago in welding class to never open acetylene valve more than a quarter turn so it can be quickly turned off.

I have seen my share of cuts and bruises, survived two floods and other traumas. I have seen three shops burn dow ( one blow up). Fire is the one thing that scares the hell out of me.
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