Mid-east ohio model engineering expo Propane accident

Discussion in 'Shows and Events' started by BobsModels, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Oct 23, 2017 #1

    BobsModels

    BobsModels

    BobsModels

    Well-Known Member

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    At the North East Ohio Model Engineering Show I had an accident with my Rider Hot Engine when shutting down. It caused a bit of excitement for about a minute or so. I was removing the propane tube from the engine when it caught fire. I dropped the tube and attempted to put out the fire with a display board I had and it would not extinguish immediately. There were some napkins, a piece of paper, and heavy oil cloth I use for the table covering which kept things burning. While I checked the regulator to insure it was off, a fellow modeler stepped in and he slapped the remaining fire out. I think the whole incident lasted no more than a minute or so, but it seemed like a lot longer.

    We were packing up to leave so I just made sure everything was out, cleaned up the mess, and we were on our way. Today I wanted to figure out what happened to insure it would not occur again.

    My normal shutting down procedure for the engine is too turn off the propane regulator. I next empty the water tank which takes about five minutes to disassemble the pipes, remove the tank and dump the water. I then pull the tube off the burner barb, remove the regulator and store everything away.

    For whatever reason this time I turned off the regulator and immediately pulled the tube off the burner. Clearly there was gas in the tube and the flame had not gone out so it ignited the end of the tube which I dropped so as not to burn myself and then the paper and table cover caught fire. This was a new regulator I had not used before so I wanted to try and repeat the process outside my shop today to insure it was not something with the regulator.

    I tried to make it happen about six times with no fire result. What I was doing was turning the regulator off with my right hand and then with my right hand removing the tube. However, when I turned the regulator off with my left hand and virtually simultaneously pulled the tube off with my right hand a flame occurred on 4 out of 5 times I tried it. That is what I must have done. Using my right hand for both operations must have allowed enough time for the flame to extinguish, whereas using both hands did not allow time for the flame to go out. I am not sure why I changed my sequence of shut down but clearly it was that change that caused the fire. The regulator was just fine, just my process change that caused the accident.

    What have I learned from this incident is simple; make sure the flame is out before taking apart equipment even if the regulator is off for five minutes while I am emptying out the water tank. I should have been doing that check all the time.

    I hope sharing this information may be of some value for others and to let those who were at the show know I have figured out what happened –I screwed up!

    Bob
     
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  2. Oct 24, 2017 #2

    dalem9

    dalem9

    dalem9

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    Thanks Bob , Hope we all can learn something from this . Goes to show how fast things can happen . Thanks for sharing !
     

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