Close call...

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by Eric Sutton posted 06-09-2009 04:50 PM 1682 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Eric Sutton's profile

Eric Sutton

4 posts in 4424 days

06-09-2009 04:50 PM

We received a call this morning at the fire department, on the NON-emergency business line. ‘Twas a local dentist who was building a new office building. He asked us to come over and check out what he said was a “small incident” that we should know about. This is what we found…

Turns out a young apprentice was staining doors and windows yesterday and tossed the rags out the window into a plastic bucket on the ground outside. Seems the contractor forgot to teach the young man about spontaneous combustion! In the foreground you can see what’s left of the plastic bucket that was against the building when we arrived. Luckily for all of us it rained pretty hard just after the fire began its climb up the exterior of the building. Under the vinyl siding is osb sheathing and the window is vinyl clad wood. Without the rain I would still be at work this morning!

We all know that this stuff happens but it always seems to happen to “someone else.” Keep in mind that to the firefighters you probably are someone else! It only takes a moment to look around when you leave the shop and make sure everything is as it should be. I’ve done far too many of these ‘oily rag’ calls in my 20 years on the job. It’s rarely a wood worker or a craft shop that makes the mistake so please take a minute and share the knowledge with someone you encounter that’s working a DIY project and may not know that dangers of simply disposing of the wiping rags.

And for you “believers” out there, here’s the rest of the story…the dentist was having trouble sleeping last night and finally gave up at 4:00am and decided to go into the office to do some paperwork. On the way he made a last minute decision to make a detour and check out his new building. He knew the contractor had been working ‘out back’ the day before so he walked around to check out the work. Apparently karma rules because this guy is a great dentist and quite the contributor to our community.

-- IAFF L2737 Cortland NY

8 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8648 posts in 4663 days

#1 posted 06-09-2009 04:56 PM

Thanks for the post – it’s one thing to ‘hear’ about spon. combustion. but it’s a different thing to see what it can do…. hopefully no one here will have to also experience it first hand.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 5066 days

#2 posted 06-09-2009 05:24 PM

WOW thanks for the vivid reminder.

-- Hope Never fails

View mtnwild's profile


3760 posts in 4542 days

#3 posted 06-09-2009 05:33 PM

My brother lost a huge double car garage full of possessions,because of a handy man that did not dispose of his waste properly.

This should stay high on the shop safety list.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4336 days

#4 posted 06-09-2009 08:42 PM

Thanks for the warning. We can never get complacent and this shows why.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View MikeinNJ's profile


22 posts in 4319 days

#5 posted 06-10-2009 01:03 AM

We had the same thing happen not to long ago in the armory/weapon cleaning room at my PD. An officer after cleaning his weapon disposed of oily rags in the garbage can full of numerous used cotton patches. Ironically, this room has venting that leads into the cell blosk in which a lone perp was sleeping. He woke up yelling that smoke was getting into the cell and an officer was detailed to check it out. After words were exchanged accusing the guy that he was somehow in possession of matches, someone found out that the rags were smoldering. After a few laughs, signs were posted to remind of spon. combustion.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4573 days

#6 posted 06-10-2009 02:33 AM

We were doing a project about 7 years ago at Appalachian State University. We had about 4 semitruck loads of wainscot panels and tons of trim that we had taken up there. A group of painters from another part of the state set-up shop in one of the rooms and were spraying all the trim and panels before we put them up. They did the same thing one night and left all their rags in a bucket with no water in it. The superintendent for the contractor also failed to see this and locked the building and went home. When he came in the next mornig the building was full of smoke and the room was on fire. We lost about 50 panels and lots of molding. They had to shut down the whole project for 60 days while they repaired the room and all the electrical in that room. They also had to clean and reseal all the ductwork before they let us back in to finish the job. And guess what? They let these guys come back to finising staining and painting on this job. DUH…...

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 4495 days

#7 posted 06-11-2009 11:01 PM

Thanks for posting this. Pretty scary. I always get concerned about rags and fumes in my shop especially in the winter when its all closed up.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View almostsquare's profile


16 posts in 4274 days

#8 posted 06-26-2009 03:28 PM

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day! Incidents happen in just a second so my question is always: “Where is your next second?”
Thanks for the reminder.

-- Kelly in Canton

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics