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Mr. Heater Propane Fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Need to share a story/experience that happended to me this weekend.

On Saturday night, I was fishing for walleyes on Prior Lake.

I had my Mr. Heater (the type that holds 1 pound cylinders, and you can place it up right as a cooker too)

The propane can went empty. I let it cool down, as directed.

I changed the cylinder and it started right up. As it was warming up, I heard a hissing sound. Just at that moment, the can started on fire, where it screws into the heater.

I'm in a portable suitcase style fish house. Both sides are zippered shut. I'm alone.

I have a ball of fire on my wood floor. In a quick panic, I tried to blow out the fire, but the heater was too hot.

So, in one quick move, I grabbed the heater by the wire frame, unzipped the door, and threw out the ball of fire (propane bottle and heater) unto the ice.

Now, my fire ball is a ticking time-bomb, that is going to explode if I don't get it out. In my still panic state, I kicked snow on it and it went out. It took about 15 kicks of snow to get it out.

I was alone...........It was probably a good thing, because if there was two of us in the shack, I don't think it would of gone so well, in a panic state.

My point is this. I've never had a problem before. I'm not new around compressed fuel either. I'm an old certified welder.

BE CAREFULL WHEN YOU ARE USING THESE HEATERS.

I only received a small blister on my thumb, and I don't have any hair on my hand. That is it.................I got lucky, real lucky, for not taking the necessary precautions, and I know better........

ALL, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS COULD OF HAPPENED ON ANY TYPE OF HEATER. I DON'T THINK IT WAS A PROBLEM WITH THE HEATER AS MUCH AS A PROBLEM WITH THE PROPANE BOTTLE. I HAVEN'T LOOKED AT IT YET, BUT IT COULD OF BEEN SOMETHING AS LITTLE AS A PIECE OF DEBRIS THAT STOPPED THE "SEAL".


--------------------
Gary

Let 'em go so they can grow!!!

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I hear what you are saying Derek, but the tank was screwed in straight. It wasn't crossthreaded. I'm positive of that.

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Did you check for the debris? Those little tanks can be tricky. It can be a scary ordeal. Glad you didn't get hurt.

------------------
Mille Lacs Guide Service
320-293-3287
www.millelacsguideservice.com

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Did you check for leaks @ the tank connection? From what you describe it may have not been tightened properly. I am NOT intendeing to offend you at all, just a thought.

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Good post!

We often take it for granted all these convenience's are risk free, far from true. We need to operate on the assumption dangers are there and be as cautious as passable. Risks do exist with compressed fuels and liquid fuels.

I am curious, were these cylinders new or refilled cylinders?

My own fuel fire story.

I was in a friends shack on a SE ND lake one night and the Old Style Colman lantern began to sputter and flutter. I reached up to pump up the lantern and after about 12 pumps I hear a hiss.

I stopped the pumping and turned my head to try to hear where the hiss was coming from. About then the screw on the filler cap popped out and spewed raw fuel on me and across the shack, instantly igniting me. The raw pressurized white gas was blowing out the side like a flame thrower. The left side of my body was on fire so I shot out the door and rolled in the snow to put myself out.

As soon as I was out I ran back in to remove the lantern and save my friends shack. As soon as I touched the lantern handle the fuel burst forth a second time and burned my arm and hand but I got the lantern out side anyway.

The shack was singed but not badly damaged, I got it out fast.

But I was badly burned, especially my hand and arm. My coat had melted to my shoulder and arm, that was painful to remove I assure you!. The flesh on the palm of me left hand pealed off almost immediately. 3rd degree burns was the call of the Dr. It took a long time to heal on that deal! The pain was not anything I would ever wish to repeat.

I am very cautious near any lantern or stove after that, for obvious reasons. If you see something suspicious don't risk it. I had seen the cap screw was loose on his lantern and though, heck if it works for him, it must be OK. Bad call on my part for sure!

Fire is a huge danger on the ice, people forget this too easily.

Be safe folks!!


------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"
[email protected]
><,sUMo,>

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I know of 2 close call stories that I think are important to tell, because propane can be so dangerous.

My dad and grandpa witnesses the first. They were out ice fishing on Waconia one morning when they heard a thunderous BOOM only to see to guys exiting a nearby shack. Upon checking on the guys they found out that a propane line had been damaged and leaked gas. Since propane is more dense than air, it filled the area below the house. When they arrive that morning to light the stove....kabloooee! Luckily, no one was injured, but the house skids were froze in and the explosion separated the house from the skids!

The second unfortunately I was part of. One weekend we headed to my buds to do some ice fishing. My bud brought along an old portable as it was going to be cold that weekend. I went through the equipment box in my 8x12' permanent to find a few old sunflower heaters one of which I grabbed. Let me start out by saying I've never liked them, and therefore I have a freestanding propane stove in my house and the tank is outside. We filled a 20# tank on the drive up and drilled holes first light the following morning.

Well, my buddy is sort of a nancy. He was in that house after 5 minutes while I cleared and set lines in 4 holes. I could hear him cussing in the decrepid old swiss cheese excuse for a portable. After the lines were set, I went to check on him. Seems he couldn't keep the old Sunflower going.

Mistake #1: I said, "Let me in there". I sat on a pail with the tank between my legs. The unit would light but even after getting red hot the probe was not working well enough to keep the gas valve on the heater open.

Mistake #2: The gas valve on the tank was all the way open......My buddy had mounted the heater at an angle. I was not happy with this so after letting the unit cool for a minute (not enough) I pulled on it counterclockwise (tighten) to remedy the problem. When all at once it fell apart in my hands. A brazed seam in the plumbing let loose and I could physically see gas escaping. My buddy exclaimed "shut it off!" while my hand quickly fumbled for the valve. I was 1/2 turn from having it closed when WHOOOFFF!!

Mistake #3: We were in the house....I turned in time to dodge the ball of flames. I got up and kicked the tank towards the door while I exited. My buddy gave it another kick to try and get it outside the house...no dice. We decided to sacrifice the house and ran a good distance to watch 20# of gas burn up.

It got so hot that the needle melted out. 20# of gas lasts 5 minutes when this happens, shoots flames about 10' and sounds like a jet engine. There was no explosion as this pressure would never allow the flame path inside the tank. In fact, at times it would literally snuff itself out (exhaust all available oxygen) and then reignite seconds later.

I cinged the hair at the bottom of my stocking cap, one sideburn, that side of my goatee and a little of my eyebrow. The house should have been burned years ago so that was actually a blessing. I will never again use a Sunflower or any such heater of this type. I'd rather get frostbite than fish with one again. I lost a little pride as I am usually very safety conscious when fishing, but bullheaded at times nonetheless.

Just a warning to be extremely careful out there!

------------------
"There are many fish in the sea...but you're the only one I'd like to mount over my fireplace"
--Walter Mathau

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No offense taken.

I think there was some debris. Like I said, I haven't really dug into it. I'm still a bit shaken and leary from the whole situation.

However, I did unscrew the bottle and fuel dripped out from the vavle. There was no pressure, but it looked as though maybe some crude got into there.

I don't refill tanks. But this tank was half full from last year.

Maybe that is a big no-no. But considering that it still was half full, from 9 months prior, I thought it would be good.

Back to crossthreading those bottles. It seems that just about every valve is set on the tank at an angle. The bottles are made cheap and mass produced.......

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In addition to the fire hazard propane can be dangerous to the skin as well. After having the same crossthreading issue and having the 1 lb cylinder leaking I panicked and tried to get the thing corrected. It was a very cold day and in my attempt to get the cylinder off exposed my skin to the leaking propane. Frozen skin took care of my future use of these small cylinders and I now happily bear the burden of dragging a 20# tanks out with no incidents since.

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Another very good point, it will flash freeze skin in an instant.

A great point. Wearing gloves when making the fuel line or tank connections is wise.

------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson

Backwater Guiding
"ED on the RED"
[email protected]
><,sUMo,>

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I second the notion that those little 1# cylinders make me nervous with a capital N. I've had so many instances where we've unscrewed them from the Buddy Heater while partially full and they hiss from either the main valve or the purge valve. Like I'm going to put that bomb in my vehicle! So, there they've sat on shore to hopefully be picked up by someone after they've leaked themselves out. This year, I did myself the favor of shelling out $50 for a 5 lb tank and hose to connect with the Buddy Heater. The fittings are of high quality brass and it sure makes me more comfortable that there won't be leaks. Propane is an excellent fuel when there aren't problems but is just about as dangerous as any when things go bad. Just be sure to check all your fittings regularly for damage, debris, corrosion, or worn or old gaskets.

Stay safe out there!

Matchman

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As an addition to my fishing arsenal... I've added a small roll of the yellow, gas rated teflon thread sealing tape. I am VERY leary of the little tanks and wrap them EVERY time I'm "forced" to use one. Sure it may take a couple extra seconds to get it the heat going, but look at the storys above. All of them could have turned out MUCH worse.

Although not a 100% fix, take the time and seal your connections. It's just a bit more peace of mind on your outting....

Dan

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I too felt that there should be no difference between Coleman's product and Wal-Mart's. I feel there is a greater chance of having less pressure or as straight threads with the cheaper ones. Perhaps the quality control is one notch less than with the name brand units. After reading these posts I won't buy any more pounders. I'll just use the 20 lb. tank for my heater and get a tree for my lantern. Is there one short enough to fit in an Eskimo?

Kevin

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Ice fishing Version of an old Eric Clapton song!!!

VERSE 1:
If you want to get down, down on the ground -PROPANE
If your hair is all gone, and you don't know what went wrong - PROPANE

It's AllRight-It's AllRight-Just Ignite - PROPANE

Verse 2:
If your eyes really burn, and you don't know where to turn - PROPANE
If you can't catch your breath, and your head feels like death - PROPANE

It's AllRight-It's AllRight-Just Ignite - PROPANE

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A good friend of mine used to run a bulk fuel operation, delivering propane etc. one day @-10 deg. he was dragging the hose around some folks house and here came this big dog running towards him ready to kill. with out even thinking he opened the valve on the end of the hose as the dog got to him. the dog dissapeared in a white cloud, when it cleared up the dog was near dead, the eyes exploded and its toung broke off, its head was nearly froze solid.

he filled the tank and left.

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I have had trouble with the cheaper one pound tanks from Wal-mart and Target. The ones I have had the least problems is the colmen tanks(not that they are fullproof either). They are a little more expensive but they are worth the cost. I recieved minor flash burns on my hand with one of those cheaper tanks that just would not make a good connection to Mr Heater. I was also wearing gloves at the time so it does not take long from the extreme cold of the propane to go right through gloves. I would have probably needed medical attention if I was not wearing gloves.

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I also have had bad experiences with Mr. Buddy Heaters and Coleman lanterns. I wanted to point out to make sure to secure those tanks in your vehicles. I made a simple bracket with a couple of eye hooks and a bungy cord to keep my 20 lb. tank from moving around in the back of my truck. If you've ever seen what a loose tank can do in a accident, you know what I mean. You basicly have a bomb with you.

Good Luck and Be safe,Scotty

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pikemania - don't be so sure that the bottles you get at wal-mart and target aren't made by coleman. It is called "owned branding". Just like cabelas has their cabelas line and gander has their guide series line, it is usually made by big name manufacturers. Example many of the cabelas boots are made by rocky or wolverine. many of GM's guide series apparel are made by columbia, mossy oak etc. or rods are made by st. croix but have the "guide series" printed on it. Usually the only difference is the color, buttons etc.

So just because the label says target or walmart propane, may only meen that a manufacturer puts a different label on it.

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