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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Kentucky, West of the Lakes, South of Possum Trot. North of Coldwater, Near Golo
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    Kioti CK20S, Ford 4600

    Default I burned my storage building today

    Well, I burned my storage building today….Didn’t mean to, but I did. Nobodies fault but mine.

    I was taking care of the leaves in the front yard. Had the mulcher on my Yard-Man mower and was pulling a sweeper behind. Throw the blade in gear, make two or three passes around the front yard, throw blade out, and sweep up the mulched leaves. Drive around the house and dump them next to the barrel that I burn in. It is slower but safer to burn that way. And no black spot in the yard all winter.

    It was 5:00 when I finished, just as the sun was going down. While dumping the last load I drove over a previously dumped pile and ground them up with the blade. Had to push them a short distance with the deck. I then drove the mower about 60 feet to an 8’ by 8’ wood sided storage building and pulled the mower inside. The sweeper was still attached and stuck outside preventing me from closing the doors. I got off the mower and put my hearing protectors in the zip lock bag I store them in, removed the dust mask and walked to the burn barrel, threw the mask in, and refilled the barrel with leaves. It had been burning since 10:00 this morning and about half the leaves were gone. I then walked back to the building and looked inside. Satisfied that all was OK I went into the house to shower.

    Earlier in the day I had cleaned up the tools stored inside my ‘little building’. Two gas chain saws, electric pole saw, gas string trimmer, gas leaf blower, pole pruner, push mower, tiller, seven gas or diesel cans, assorted shovels, hand tools, oil, and mower.

    Thank God I decided to put anything that used fuel or got dirty in this little building and not in the big shop. Wisest decision I have ever made.

    Anyway back to the story. After I walked into the house I went straight to the bedroom and got clean clothes. The wife was getting ready to take a shower in the master bath so I said I would go to the utility room bath on the other end of the house. I heard a thud and remarked the girls must have come home early because I heard the garage door close. I then walked down the hall and thru the den when the phone rang.

    “Randy, is your building supposed to be on fire?” asked Lori, the neighbor across the road.

    “It isn’t on fire, that is smoke from the barrel behind it,” I replied.

    “Nope, the building is on fire,” she replied.

    I looked out the window and sure enough the entire building was engulfed in flames which were shooting 20-30 feet in the air.

    “Oh sugar, (not really what I said) it is,” and out the door I went.

    Got a hose connected, had drained all of them for winter storage earlier in the day, and started spraying the grass around the building. By now neighbors were coming at a run and hooking hoses to the other two back yard hydrants. I had to yell at them to get back because there could still be some gasoline in metal gas tanks on the tiller and push mower. I could see that the building and everything in it was already a total loss. I just wanted to keep the fire from spreading and I did not want anyone to get hurt.

    I guess it was ten minutes at the most from shutting off the engine till I heard the noise. Once started it took less than twenty minutes until everything was gone. The flames were hot enough that I could not get within 60 feet of the building. We could barely spray the grass that was burning around it. Within 30 minutes the fire had burned itself down so we could move in and soak what little was left, just the lawn mower frame, a few other metal pieces, and the back wall.

    What caused the fire? I have thought about it half the night trying to figure it out and here is what I think.

    I had a problem last year when I tried to mow over a big pile of leaves. They built up in front of the deck and could not go under it. Eventually they made contact with the muffler, which is in the very front of the mower. I noticed the smoke, stopped and reversed the mower to get off the leaves. I had to get off the mower and stomp out the flames. The last pass I made today the same thing probably happened. Leaves got hung under the front of the mower, got in contact with the hot muffler, and started smoldering. After I shut it down and went in the house they burst into flames. Probably melted a plastic gas line and started a dribble of burning gas out on the plywood floor. The gas and flames reached the other gas containers and melted thru them. There was two full one gallon, one full four gallon, and four empty, but full of fumes, containers. One of the containers exploded and that was the thud I, and half the neighborhood, heard.

    Lessons learned; it was a wise decision to move the ‘flammable’ tools to a separate building away from the main shop. I shudder to imagine the 24’ by 30’ two story shop going up in flames. Also the building that burned was about as far away from my house and the neighbors’ houses as I could place it on a one acre lot. The only collateral damage was to a large dogwood and an ash tree. They are right up against the building and both are badly scorched and will probably die.

    Also, if I had lingered in the yard a few minutes longer I might have seen the fire start and try to get the mower out. I know that if it has gasoline in it and it is on fire the only safe thing to do is run. But when startled or scared people will do things that they would not do if they had the time to think it over. Since at least one container exploded I might have been burned or worse.

    Oh well, nobody hurt, insurance paid up, and lesson learned. Goodnight all.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member JDGREEN4ME's Avatar
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    Southeast PA
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    John Deere 2520, John Deere X534, John Deere LT150

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    In every manual I have ever read it always states about not putting equipment away hot. I do it all the time, however after your experiance I might need to re-think how I do things. Glad no one was hurt...

  3. #3
    Super Star Member Thomas's Avatar
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    Lebanon,NH.
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    Kubota L2800HST w/Frontloader & CC LTX1046 & Craftman T2200 lawn mower.

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] yikes..but like you wrote"nobody got hurt"..whew.

    Last fall I had the same problem while mowing bunch of leaves w/Sears 19hp lawn tractor,for the leaves kept rolling up into the belt drive area than the muffler,and smoke appear more than once [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] now when I'm done w/the leave detail I hose down the deck and motor area before storage.

    Did the insurance adjuster offer his thoughts where the fire might have started.

    45.2F..Cloudy w/fog an misting. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Platinum Member PhilNH5's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
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    SE NH
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    Kubota B3000HSDCC

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    RSKY,
    Sorry to hear about this. thanks for taking the time write it up on TBN. It certainly was an eye opener for me. I think you will have educated far more people than you realize.

    Phil

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Michigan
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    JD 2210

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I have a friend who is a fireman and constantly telling me not to put stuff away hot. He says the vast majority of home fires are started in the garage from a hot engine. I bet we all do it and most of us need to be more carefull. Best wishes , Dave

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Apr 2002
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    New England...Central MA
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    TC35D/16LA

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    Sorry to hear that news...

    You didn't mention any fire department response. I assume you didn't call. Around here that would really screw up your insurance claim. They want to see the fire department run reports etc before settling.

    I hope all works out for you and I'm especially glad that nobody was hurt. Fighting a structure fire with a few garden hoses is very VERY risky.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Kentucky, West of the Lakes, South of Possum Trot. North of Coldwater, Near Golo
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    Kioti CK20S, Ford 4600

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    The fire department we have is strictly volunteer. The fire was out before any of the fire fighters could have reached the station. The entire incident was over in less than 30 minutes from the time I shut off the engine. And this time includes me filling the burn barrel and entering my house. Burn time was probably less than 15 minutes until we hosed out the embers.

    I made sure everyone stayed well back from the blaze until I was sure all flammable liquids were consumed. I looked at it this morning and even the aluminum heads are gone from the mowers and tiller. They must have melted. The sweeper wheels must have been made from a magnesium alloy because they burned as bright as a flare. When hit by a stream of water they just became brighter.

    The insurance adjuster hasn't called yet. But the lady I talked to at the office told me to go ahead and start getting replacement prices for everything. I am not going to touch anything until the adjuster arrives.

    I posted this so maybe somebody else will not make the same mistake. It is kinda embarrassing.



  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2002
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    Blair, Ne.
    Tractor
    L3130

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( magnesium alloy because they burned as bright as a flare. When hit by a stream of water they just became brighter. )</font>

    Sorry to hear about the incident.

    That reminded me of when I was a kid growing up in Ca. We used to get magnesuim shavings from a machine shop on occaision. We would put it on a small sheet of wood and light it and drag down to the tide water. When the tide came in it burned bright as blazes and made a prety glow under the water as it burned.

  9. #9
    Super Member ronjhall's Avatar
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    SE Michigan, AZ when its cold in MI.
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    Kubota 2910 HST

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    RSKY
    Sorry to here about your loss.

    Glad to here no one was hurt and the fire was contained.

    A friend of mine lost his shed a year ago. He stored all his gas operated tools in it. Fire department filed a report. Their conclusion was that his Lawn Tractor had started the fire. The carburetor stuck open, gas ran into engine through the valves and out to the hot muffler. This started the fire. According to the fire department this is a common problem with gas powered lawn tractors.

    When he bought a new lawn tractor he made sure that gas tank was mounted lower than the carburetor and a fuel pump was in the system.

    He also cools the tractor down before putting it away in the shed.

    Another item that was on the report was that the shed was made with OSB. Floor was made of plywood the only place that floor burnt was where the gas dripped on the floor. Fire was so fierce that 5 sides of his house that was 75’ away had to have new siding put on it.

  10. #10
    Gold Member
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    Nov 2000
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    415
    Location
    Fremont, New Hampshire
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    BX2200

    Default Re: I burned my storage building today

    “Dave, is your TRUCK supposed to be on fire?” asked ANDY, the neighbor across the road.

    “It isn’t on fire, that's my beehive smoker.” I replied.

    “Nope, your TRUCK is on fire,” He replied.

    I looked out the window and sure enough my 1992 Chevy PU was engulfed in flames!



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