Shop Fire - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 7Likes
  • 2 Post By John Smith_inFL
  • 1 Post By Pineknot_86
  • 2 Post By Kerrys
  • 2 Post By Tony B
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Tony B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Somerville, TX
Posts: 3,844
View Tony B's Photo Album My Photos
Shop Fire

I know lots of reasons for shop fires, but what I really want to know is first hand experience.

Has anyone here ever had a shop fire?
And do you know or suspect what caused it?

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
Tony B is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 06:15 PM
Moderator
 
John Smith_inFL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 2,139
View John Smith_inFL's Photo Album My Photos
one of my best friends had a fairly large sign shop,
with all wood framing. after cutting his grass with
a riding mower, he parked it behind the shop under a lean-to.
went in his house to take a shower only to be summoned
to the door with loud banging by his neighbor.
the lawnmower apparently had a leak in the fuel hose
and when gas dripped onto the hot muffler and caught fire.
quickly spreading to the wood framed building.
the structure was fully engulfed by time the fire trucks arrived.
the complete building and all its contents was a total loss.
so - not all fires originate inside the building.

my personal experience was a lightning strike on the office part
of the building. small fire on the desk with papers and stuff.
but, no physical damage other than all the electronics were toast.

.
Tony B and NoThankyou like this.

I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things.
John Smith_inFL is online now  
post #3 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 07:43 PM
Senior Member
 
Pineknot_86's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,942
View Pineknot_86's Photo Album My Photos
Hmmm. Have smoke detector in the shop with several more around the house. Watch things in the shop that could cause a fire. Also have a fire extinguisher in the shop, right inside the door to be used elsewhere.
Tony B likes this.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
Pineknot_86 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 08:22 PM
Senior Member
 
Kerrys's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: NW Washington State
Posts: 813
View Kerrys's Photo Album My Photos
A long time ago, almost to long ago to remember I worked for a cabinet shop that suffered a fire and two explosions. Believe it or not one of the explosions saved the shop. It started with a pile of overspray that had been swept up in the paint booth and discarded in a five gallon bucket. The bucket should have been disposed of but instead was forgotten and left in the paint booth at quitting time. Sometime during the night the bucket about a third full of overspray powder self ignited. This stuff poured out thick, heavy, extremely flammable smoke, filling the paint booth until it exploded, flattening all four walls of the booth and destroying the ceiling. This explosion shook the hell out of the rest of the shop which filled the air with fine sawdust that in turn exploded. The dust explosion blew every door and window out of the building including two large sliding doors that I would say were about ten foot high by twelve foot wide. One of the sliding doors, or should I say what was left of the door was blown about twenty to thirty feet away. The dust explosion also literally blow out almost all of any fire that was present. When the fire department arrived they said that other than a few small smoldering pieces of wood there was no fire.

Almost all of the equipment in the shop was still operating and stacks of material such as plywood or hardwood were fine only the top sheet or layer was slightly scorched. A day of cleaning, replacing doors, windows and the shop was back at work. We had to build a new paint booth.
hawkeye10 and NoThankyou like this.

Last edited by Kerrys; 01-29-2020 at 08:27 PM.
Kerrys is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Kerrys For This Useful Post:
hawkeye10 (01-30-2020)
post #5 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Tony B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Somerville, TX
Posts: 3,844
View Tony B's Photo Album My Photos
@Kerrys
Now that's one hell of a story
For one thing, I never would have thought that the lacquer overspray dust would self ignite. I just sweep it up and never give it a thought. It makes sense, but I never gave it a thought.

When I first started woodworking, ny shop was less than a week old in a warehouse building. We were closing up later than normal and and my eyes started to burn. So did my girlfriends. We searched all over and could not find the source. Then I kicked a pile of old stain rags and it started to smoke. I quickly kicked it more to spread the rags out on the concrete floor. and problem was found and safely taken care of. I simply poured water on the rags and put them outside on top of the concrete.

Not even a year later, one day I heard this whoosh sound. I looked around and barely able to see a very light colored flame slowly creeping up a wall and then disappeared at about 4 or 5 feet from the ground. For a few seconds I was in a panic. I had 55 gal drums of nitrocellulous lacquer, lacquer thinner and Methyline Chloride. I wasn't even concerned about the lumber at that point. Anyway, there was no damage.

I always swept the floors everyday, just didn't give much thought to the dust on the walls. Now when I start cleaning up, I start blowing down with a leaf blower. I blow down the shelves, walls, overhead and finally the floors.

All of the above comments are greatly appreciated. It's been about 7 years since my last shop and when I get a new shop, I want to be prepared. When not doing something for a long while you tend to forget. At age 73 you tend to forget a lot more than when you were in your 30's.

Also note that the little wall mounted fire extinguishers are a lot better than nothing but not much to depend on once a fire gets going. I would suggest that when one of this gets past its expiration point, rather than just chuck it, actually use it to get the feel of one. You will be surprised at how fast it empties out. Its OK for a trash can fire, but if its lumber or chemicals, use it to head for the door and get out.

Hope we get some more first hand stories.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx

Last edited by Tony B; 01-29-2020 at 10:03 PM.
Tony B is offline  
post #6 of 19 Old 01-29-2020, 11:28 PM
Generic Weeb
 
WeebyWoodWorker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Gorgeous Oregon!
Posts: 979
View WeebyWoodWorker's Photo Album My Photos
Never had an actual fire but a few weeks ago I was routing a channel in a piece and when I cleaned out the chips I saw I had embers in it. Stomped it out immediately but that sure did scare the heck out of me...

-T
WeebyWoodWorker is offline  
post #7 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 06:29 AM
Junior Member
 
lexadmn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: West Plains, MO
Posts: 29
View lexadmn's Photo Album My Photos
No shop fire, but last July we refinished our oak floors as they were looking pretty well worn and the existing finish was 18 years old.
As I sanded the floor with the floor sander, I would empty the sawdust into a plastic bucket on the back porch and planned to take it to the barrel in the back yard (where I usually burn sawdust).
After emptying the bag from the sander the first two times, I stopped for something.... don't remember why, but about an hour later I seen smoke blowing out of the bucket on the porch.
I went to the porch to see what was going on, and yea.. the bucket of sawdust was burning!

KC

"I swear! I cut it three times and it is still too short!"

lexadmn is offline  
post #8 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 07:05 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida Panhandle
Posts: 12,252
View GeorgeC's Photo Album My Photos
TonyB's experience is something to remember. Rags that have been used around flammable liquids should never just be wadded up and tossed on a table or whatever. These do and have spontaneously ignited. Hang them outside to thoroughly dry or place in closed metal container.


George
GeorgeC is online now  
post #9 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 07:43 AM
djg
Senior Something
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,059
View djg's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexadmn View Post
...... the bucket of sawdust was burning!
KC
How did a bucket of sawdust catch fire? I wonder about the sawdust setting in my dust collector bag.
djg is offline  
post #10 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 07:46 AM
djg
Senior Something
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,059
View djg's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
@Kerrys

Not even a year later, one day I heard this whoosh sound. I looked around and barely able to see a very light colored flame slowly creeping up a wall and then disappeared at about 4 or 5 feet from the ground.

I always swept the floors everyday, just didn't give much thought to the dust on the walls. Now when I start cleaning up, I start blowing down with a leaf blower. I blow down the shelves, walls, overhead and finally the floors.
Thus dust on your walls caught on fire? What was the source of ignition?
djg is offline  
post #11 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 07:57 AM
Moderator
 
John Smith_inFL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 2,139
View John Smith_inFL's Photo Album My Photos
my "catastrophe avoided" was using a hand-held belt sander
with a bag full of fine dust to grind a piece of steel. then went to lunch.
returning from lunch, the bag on the sander was smoking.
hot sparks from the steel in the sawdust bag had started to smolder.
I can only imagine what would have happened if this was at the end of the day
and left to smolder overnight. (NOT doing that no more !!)
so - don't mix wood and metalworking without thinking twice about
the possible after effects. sort of like the oily rags syndrome.

.

I am a painter: that's what I do, I like to paint things.
John Smith_inFL is online now  
post #12 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Tony B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Somerville, TX
Posts: 3,844
View Tony B's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
.......... Rags that have been used around flammable liquids should never just be wadded up and tossed on a table or whatever. These do and have spontaneously ignited. Hang them outside to thoroughly dry or place in closed metal container................George
I have always known that oily rags will spontaneously combust. This is something I heard over and over again all my life. Until then, I never believed it. When it happened, I was astounded. Just couldn't believe my eyes. But it happened.
DrRobert and John Smith_inFL like this.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
Tony B is offline  
post #13 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 08:39 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Tony B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Somerville, TX
Posts: 3,844
View Tony B's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
Thus dust on your walls caught on fire? What was the source of ignition?
I have no idea why it happened. I didn't smoke at that time. No one else was here yet. A cigarette butt wouldn't still be hot from an employee the evening before. No electrical sparks that I was aware of.

Tony B



Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
Tony B is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Tony B For This Useful Post:
djg (01-30-2020)
post #14 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 08:56 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 304
View JIMMIEM's Photo Album My Photos
My workshop is the basement and several months ago I had a fire that started in my shop vac. I was vacuuming up some saw dust and the basement started filling with an acrid smoke from the burning plastic. All the smoke detectors in the house (they are wired together) went off . I was choking and having trouble seeing but I was able to get the bulk head open and carry the vac up the stairs and get it to the back yard. The basement smell was pretty bad. I put out some deodorizers and plates of charcoal to try and get rid of the odor. I couldn't work in the basement for a couple of weeks.
When I opened the vac I saw that there was too much dust on the filter which probably caused the motor to overheat.
JIMMIEM is offline  
post #15 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 09:06 AM
Junior Member
 
lexadmn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: West Plains, MO
Posts: 29
View lexadmn's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
How did a bucket of sawdust catch fire? I wonder about the sawdust setting in my dust collector bag.
I have no idea....
The bucket was a clean plastic that was used for beer making a few years ago. It was clean.
Otherwise it was red oak, white oak, oil based stain and oil based poly from 18 years ago.

KC

"I swear! I cut it three times and it is still too short!"

lexadmn is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to lexadmn For This Useful Post:
djg (01-30-2020)
post #16 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 10:57 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Cyprus
Posts: 332
View sunnybob's Photo Album My Photos
I worked on a miltary base for several years. If we had used any kind of hot work or grinding machinery (not just flame), we had to stop that work 2 hours before leaving the site, and then do a complete sweep through the building and sign it off before going home.

Do you remember when Windsor castle in the UK was burnt down?
$50,000,000 repair bill. caused by a spotlamp.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Windsor_Castle_fire

SunnyBob
my projects can be viewed here
http://www.pbase.com/john_cooper/bob...dwork_projects
sunnybob is offline  
post #17 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 12:42 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: NE FL
Posts: 459
View DrRobert's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
I have always known that oily rags will spontaneously combust. This is something I heard over and over again all my life. Until then, I never believed it. When it happened, I was astounded. Just couldn't believe my eyes. But it happened.
I have a friend who restores old cars. His entire shop with 4 antique cars and 3 motorcycles burned because of oily rags thrown in a drum.

Robert
DrRobert is offline  
post #18 of 19 Old 01-30-2020, 04:29 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 55
View Buckmark13's Photo Album My Photos
Rags used with oil based stain were thrown in a dumpster full of cardboard at our family's furniture shop. Combine that with the heat and humidity of August and a dumpster fire is a sure thing.
Buckmark13 is offline  
post #19 of 19 Old 03-18-2020, 02:16 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 5
View TomW's Photo Album My Photos
Just make sure you have a couple different types of fire extinguishers and know which to use for each situation. Some are for combustibles like paper and wood. Others are for flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil. Then there are ones for electrical fires. Be prepared ahead of time. When you are trying to deal with a fire in your shop is not the time to figure it out.
TomW is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome