Author Topic: Shed Fire.  (Read 3174 times)

Online Brian

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Shed Fire.
« on: 17.11. 2010 04:00 »
This is a warning for everyone.

What we all fear almost happened to me two days ago, I had a fire in my shed but fortunately I had a fire extinguisher, If not I probably would have lost my collection of bikes.

Firstly if you dont have a fire extinguisher get one, if you have one when did you last get it checked to make sure it is still in good working condition. Also make sure it is the correct type to fight fuel and electrical fires and that it is located in the correct position on the door frame where you enter your shed. Never put the fire between yourself and your escape.

In the morning I had been welding at my bench, my shed is made of steel and all the benches and shelving is steel. I had finished welding and turned everything off and after about 30 minutes I went inside for lunch. While I was having lunch I looked out at my shed and noticed a black ring about 2' in diameter on the end of the shed, at first I thought somebody had sprayed black paint on it but then I realised what it was. I went running out to find the whole bench area and the end wall on fire, thick black flames up to the roof. Firstly I turned the main power to the shed off, the switch is just inside the door. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and hit the main flame source which knocked the fire down enough for me to throw the burning stuff out the door. Once I had it all under control I looked to see just what had happened.

About a metre along the bench from where I was welding was a piece of rag and a spark must have landed in it. It had caught fire but it was underneath the power point which had the lead from the welder still plugged in. The power point and lead being plastic started burning, the wiring is all inside conduit which had also caught fire and burnt further along and dripped onto a plastic squirt bottle of CRC (WD40), there was about 500ml in the bottle with a pressure pack can alongside that. The CRC went up and that set fire to everything close. When I went inside for lunch there was no sign of a problem so all this happened in about a 5 minute time span.

I have had to replace a sheet of iron on the end of the shed, rewire that end with its power points and put a new lead on the welder. As you can imagine lots of cleaning, the black soot from the fire made a hell of a mess. I have it all cleaned and repaired now and back to normal. None of the bikes got damaged other than a coat of powder from the extinguisher. As you can imagine I am going to have to re-think where I weld and come up with a area that is for welding only. I also immediately replaced the fire extinguisher with a new larger one.

So the moral of the story is check your fire safety in your shed and like I said if you dont have a extinguisher get one. I came very close to losing everything, if I hadnt of had the extinguisher I think I would have lost the lot, 15 bikes plus tools etc.

Offline magicflem

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #1 on: 17.11. 2010 06:01 »
What a close call Brian.....
Thankfully you were well prepared - a lesson to us all not to become complacent.
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Online muskrat

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #2 on: 17.11. 2010 07:10 »
Gee Brian a close one. Good job you didn't have to go to town for lunch.
That's one of my worst fears, my shed is under my bedroom and a timber house. I have smoke alarms in every room and two extinguishers, one in the shed and one in the bedroom as if I'm awakened by the alarm I need it to get out. Also handy to put the missus out  *eek*.
Glad you and the bikes are ok.
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Online RichardL

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #3 on: 17.11. 2010 07:59 »
A tense story. Glad all is well.

Richard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2020 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDEon September 27, 2020. This year it's a solo or pillion ride in dapper attire. Watch website at for details.

Offline Stephen Arsenal

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #4 on: 17.11. 2010 08:21 »
15 bikes !!!!!! crumbs...Thanks for that warning,I think mine might be way out of date.
ho ho ho

Offline LJ.

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #5 on: 17.11. 2010 08:36 »
Phew! Pleased to hear you got that sorted out in time Brian. I'll endorse the necessity in having an up to date fire extinguisher.

Earlier this year I had an engine fire in my campervan. The thing to be aware of apart from the fire is 'panic' I found myself rushing around and fumbling about, even had to take a quick look at instructions as I'd never used one before. All was sorted and okay in the end.
Ride Safely Lads! LJ.
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Online orabanda

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #6 on: 17.11. 2010 09:02 »
Close call - thank god for the "happy" ending!

Years ago I looked at all of the bikes crammed into my shed, and decided that I could not afford to lose one Yamaha!

I put two dry powder extinguishers in the shed; one by each door. I also moved all petrol containers, paint, metho (thirsty work fixing bikes!) into the garden shed nearby.

Not long after, I fired up a plunger GF after a total restoration.

"Fired up" was the right description as a sheet of flame leapt up from the carby area, and burnt my upper body.

I leapt off the bike; the whole thing seemed to be alight!

The fire extinguisher was three paces away; the flames were out in seconds, and my black bike looked like it had been parked in a snowstorm.

The tank must have been moments from blowing. It took weeks to clean all of the dry powder off, but the only damage was some melted wires in the harness!

The cause? The bottom pick-up was not properly in place, and fuel got into the mag.

Now whenever I start a bike after rebuild a fire extinguisher is along side.


Online bsa-bill

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #7 on: 17.11. 2010 09:12 »
Glad you got it out Brain and a timely warning as my extinguisher is neither well placed or serviced
All the best - Bill
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1959 Rocket Gold Flash - blinged and tarted up  would have seizure if taken to  Tesco

Online Brian

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #8 on: 17.11. 2010 09:15 »
Its not much fun having a fire, it certainly rattled me when I realised just how close I had come.

I built my shed with fire safety in mind, the main power switch board is just inside the door and all my benches and shelving are steel and the shed itself is steel.

I guess I had a couple of points in my favour, I work in the paper manufacturing industry and we do quite a lot of fire training so I am sort of used to putting out fuel fires, but up until now always in a controlled situation. Because of this I was familiar with the extinguisher (dry powder) and how to use it.

LJ raised a good point, if you have an extingisher make sure you know how to use it.

Richard your having two extinguishers is also a very good thing and I will buy a second one now I have had time to think about it. With two extinguishers if someone else is around they can help, there is also a chance if you only have one that it may not work.

I hope to never have to use one again but will still be well prepared.

Offline Goldy

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #9 on: 17.11. 2010 11:32 »
Wow Brian that,s a close call. I built a small corrugated plastic roof outside over the end of my shed and I do all my welding there. I use a small fold up "work mate" bench and put that outside to work on. But I have not got a fire extinguisher anywere so I am going to get one. All the best.
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Offline MG

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #10 on: 17.11. 2010 11:36 »
Brian, glad you got away without any major damage, got to have the fire extinguisher checked....
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Offline olev

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #11 on: 17.11. 2010 11:38 »
Gday Brian,
All's well that ends well then
I almost posted a similar story about a month ago.
In my case it was a hot air gun being used to heat up crankcases to fit bearings.
Something tripped the earth leakage breaker which disconnected power from the house and shed.
By the time I'd walked to the house switchboard, reset the breaker and returned to the shed, the old towels and rags on the work bench were blazing.
I'd forgotten to turn the hot air gun off and when the power was restored it started a fire very quickly.
I keep a heavy blanket in the shed and threw that over the fire.
The interesting thing was all the bolts, studs nuts etc in or near the fire rusted almost immediatly.
If you need to start a good fire, I'd recommend a hot air gun.

and Orabanda, think yourself lucky you wern't sitting on the GF at the time or you may have grilled the wedding tackle.

Online orabanda

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #12 on: 17.11. 2010 12:14 »
I WAS straddling the bike at the time, and yes, the chestnuts were roasted!

Online chaterlea25

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #13 on: 17.11. 2010 13:28 »
Hi Brian and All,
The consequences of fire damage dont bear thinking about *eek*
Brian, the  fire training really pays off!!
As you said the extinguisher only subdued the fire and you were able to remove the "fuel source"

When I had a job in the powerplant Industry we used to do regular fire training like you
You soon learn that one extinguisher is pretty useless in a lot of situations, and certainly the mickymouse ones should not be relied on *ex*

In the workplace I was in, any welding / cutting /grinding outside the workshop welding bay had to be done under a
"Hot work permit"
This required a "Risk Assesment" beforehand and depending on location several post work inspections or a body staying there for a specified time as watchman!
The latter especially applied to coal /oil fired power plant

At my own place I am very cautious regarding fire and have recently moved all the bikes to a separate new building
(tanks drained!!)
only the bike being worked on is in the workshop. I keep an old workmate outside for grinding operations *ex*

I try not to start any bikes inside especially "unknown quantities"

I have 2, 20lb dry powder extinguisher's and a CO2 one  + a fire blanket in the workshop
and am still uneasy *sad2*

With Fire Prevention  paranoia is essential *ex*

Glad that you and your bikes escaped relatively unhurt *smile*

Best Regards
John O R
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Offline Hubie

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Re: Shed Fire.
« Reply #14 on: 17.11. 2010 21:40 »
What a bloody close shave mate!

Very happy that your bikes are undamaged and that the damage that did occur is minimal.  I have a mate over here who had a very suspicious fire quite a few years ago which was not extinguished as fast as yours, and he had about 70 bikes!
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