×
×

Unexpected Fire!

Author Photo
By Donald Winn | Apr 1, 1996

2225 North ‘F’ Street Stockton, California
95205-2701

As collectors of engines and tractors, we all try to practice
good safety measures at all our shows and at home. (Of course, most
of this means using common sense.)

But recently I found a new way to get hurt and thought I would
share it with you.

While in the process of getting a proper trailer hitch installed
on my van, I was removing the fuel tank (the reason why is a long
story).

I took all the normal precautions to be safe. The switch was
off, I unhooked the batteries, I drained the fuel from the tank. I
proceeded to remove the tank, like I have done many times before on
several other types of vehicles and equipment. I thought I had all
the bases covered.

I was wearing a polyester shirt and was on a plastic-type
creeper on a cement floor. I was turning the rubber coupling on the
neck of the fuel tank. The next thing I knew, my arm and hand were
on fire, as well as the van! The reason: static electricity. I got
away with only second degree burns to my fingers and all the newly
installed wiring under the van was burned out. It turned out a
whole lot better than it might have, if it had exploded instead of
just catching fire.

When you have all visible means of safety covered, you still
need to remember static electricity. You can’t see it, but
it’s still there and will ignite fumes while you are filling
your fuel tanks on your engines and tractors. There are other types
of combustible fluids, besides fuel, that have fumes too. Remember
to have good ventilation.

This accident has cost us a few trips to tractor shows and some
degree of pain. But, all in all, I was still lucky that it
didn’t explode in my face.

Please be careful, my friends, and we’ll be on the road
again soon. See you at the shows!

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines