Gasoline fumes:

rustyj14(W/PA)March 28, 2008

I'd like to impart a bit of information, on the indoor storage of gasoline powered equipment.

Gasoline fumes will tend to stay low and "hug" the floor, if the tank or a line should leak when the machine is stored inside!

When i built an addition onto my house, i had the floor made 2 blocks lower than the existing cellar floor. This way, if i should have an inadvertant gasoline spill, or gas fumes are present, they wouldn't "light up" the rest of the house. The smell of gasoline fumes does not necessarily mean that an explosion or fire is imminent, but should make you think about neutering any possibility of the fumes gathering in an enclosed place! Or an ignition source!

Naturally, you should try to make sure that nothing has any tendency to leak over night, before you leave it!

This stood me in good stead one day. I forgot to tighten the clamp on a fuel pump outlet hose! It popped off and pumped about a quart of gasoline out onto the floor. WOW!!

But, the fumes never made it to the hot water heater on the other side of the door! They laid on the low floor, until i could sop up the spill!

I don't remember what the ratio of gasoline smell/fumes is to subsequent ignition, but you would need a large accumulation to cause any problems.

This info comes from Fire Company training and other sources.

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HerringboneD28(z7 Central AR)


You want me to "neuter" what?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 1:46PM
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Good advice. In georgia, code states any ignition source (such as a gas hot water heater) has to be mounted 2 feet above the floor in areas where gasoline might be stored (such as a garage).

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 3:27PM
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Think that is scary?
I once worked as a mechanic for a used car dealer, he serviced his cars after the sale. Had a 2 bay block garage, tight fitting garage doors, cement floor, cealing was, i dunno, about 12' high. One day after i left a guy brought his dodge truck in for a gas tank replacement, next morning i came in, went in thru small door, and there was least half a tank of gas leaked out, floor covered, a drain full. And up next to top was a Gas heater purring away...
I didn't know if i should run out or run in and kill the heater, i killed the heater, opened doors. In adjacent to this was a beauty shop that couldn't open that day due to fumes either..
I don't know how someone who had been in the car business all those years could be so dumb.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 5:05PM
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Did the business owner work as a mechanic, or sit out front in his office, leaving all of the work to the hired help?? Did anybody stay late to drain and remove the leaking tank, thereby assuring the shop wouldn't "light up" over night from gas fumes? Or, did everybody say--"not my problem!" and go home?
This illustrates what i posted about gasoline fumes. They lay low, but something disturbs them, and Boom!
A question: Did the man-door open inward, or did you pull on it to open it? If inward, the resultant stirring up of the fumes might have caused it to light up! Outwards would tend to lessen any pressure in the room, but might send the fumes elsewhere, to go boom there!
A case in point:
Our Fire Company was called to a large explosion and fire in a home. Seems the owner, and a friend, was working on a race car, in the two-car, attached garage.
They had spilled some oil, so after pushing the car outside, they sopped up the large spill with racing gasoline!
But, the wives were fixing a late night snack, and one of them opened the inward hinged door to the garage, connected to the house by a hall-way, with the furnace and gas hot water tank in the hall. The resultant in-rush of gasoline fumes was all it took to light up the whole garage! And that resulted in the deaths of two people, and some very bad burns on the other two!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 10:31AM
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I had an old Ford automobile that somehow got water in the fuel tank. It was winter, and a block of ice was bumping around in the tank. I could see it by opening the top tank cover from the trunk. When warm weather came, I took it to a gas station to have it drained. It was a night, and a young fellow put a large pan on the floor under the fuel tank and proceeded to drain the water (and gas) using the drain plug. When he finished draining it, he took the open pan over to a drain hole in the floor and was going to dump it there. I suggested he call the owner of the station first to make sure that was OK with him. He made the call, and the owner said to stand fast, and he would be right over. I left before he arrived, but I'm sure words were spoken about what he was going to do with the drained gas. It wouldn't supprise me if they just dumped it into their main holding tanks to be sold to someone else. Perhaps there is a way to pump water out of the main storage tanks from time to time. If that is true, it would take care of the problem. At least the garage would not blow up. Charles Ranheim

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 1:38PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

gas is VERY flammable, but as stated the fumes lay low. i am the safety officer for our company and i got a good chuckle out of some co workers one day. i had been onthe roof spreading some tar to fix a leak. when i got down i poured about a gallon of gas in a 5 gallon bucket and proceeded to wash my hands in it. i was smoking a cig at the time. honestly i forgot i even had it in my mouth! plus it was cold outside, so very little chance of ignition.

during the winter we used to frequently use a gasoline heater when fishing. you get an old metal coffe can(why can't you find these anymore) stick a roll of toilet paper in it and fill it about 1/2 to 3/4 full of gas. stuff some TP inthe roll hole for a wick, and light it. it will burn for quite a while and works great as a hand warmer. you do NOT do this in warm weather at all, or it will go BOOM.

when i have a gas spill i throw some oil dry on it, scop that up and toss it in a pile in the yard. then i throw a match to it. as far as fumes inside the shop, i open the doors and windows and let it air out on it's own. i never work on my truck or anything in the garage, that is what my shop is for.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:50PM
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DANG!!! And I thought I was crazy. Oh wait, is the last post an April Fools day post???

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 4:12PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

unfortuantely, no it was not.

and before anyone asks, yes i have set myself on fire more times than i can count, though i have been lucky enough to have never been burned. most of the times were as a kids using my tennis ball bazooka and fueling it with gas instead of hairspray. get a little on you, you just drop and roll a couple time to put it out.

but yes, i do use gas to clean oil/grease/grime off my hands all the time. i don't have sensitive skin, so it does nto bother me. i no longer smoke, and when i use gas as a cleaner it is in a well ventilated area, usually outside away fromthe house.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 5:56PM
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I use gas as a cleaner also. but usually 1/4 pint or less at a time. A gallon is a LOT of firepower. When we were kids, Coke started coming in glass quart bottles. We would build a small fire around a cinder block. Fill the glass quart bottle with gas, put the cap back on and then throw it into the fire, breaking it on the cinder block. Looked like a minature atom bomb going off. Kids today just don't know how to have fun.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 6:12PM
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I grew up cleaning my hands with gas, then for many years in a factory cleaned my hands with butly cellosolve, an industrial solvent. Never bothered my hands, did a great job cleaning.

As I've read and learned more about this stuff I don't do it any more. I'm sure I'll survive, and you guys will too, but its a lot safer to our health if you use something like fast orange or industrial hand cleaners, and they do a great job. The added plus of less gas in open containers also helps make it worth while. Not preaching, just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:00AM
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One Saturday afternoon, my next-door neighbor (The local Fire Chief) and i were sitting on his front porch steps, talking about mundane things, when suddenly, we saw a great big black mushroom cloud rising out of a residential area. He ran to the scene, about a half mile away, and i drove to the fire station, to get the pumper truck!
The fire was at another fire co. members home, back a cinder lane. When i arrived, the whole front of the house was ablaze, including the guys car!
After some more members got there and put out the fire, and the owner got settled down, we asked him how that fire got started.
Seemed he had a gasoline leak under the car, so he jacked it up, then crawled under it with an extension light, to hunt for the leak.
Well, he didn't have to look very long, as the leak found the light bulb and then him, and the house!
Strange things about fire--All of the furniture in the bedroom above the garage, was really burnt up, and, the heat from the fire changed that 1930's furniture into modern stuff, which he inforned the insurance company that they had just bought it brand new. HMMM!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 9:24AM
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HerringboneD28(z7 Central AR)

When I was a kid we used to go around town in the evening (after all the gas stations were closed) and siphon the gas left in the hoses. Was easy to get a couple quarts. Like lkbum just don't know how to have fun anymore.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:12PM
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The business owner used a small trailer as a office on the other side of the car lot. He pulled the truck in after i left for the day, i was the only mechanic working there.
I knew truck was coming in but thought surely it would be outside waiting on me the next morning, not inside with a leaky tank.It didn't arrive till after i went home.
And yes the small door did open inward, gas heater at ceiling was running, all i can say is, it wasn't my time to go.
And one other thing, above the garage and beauty shop were 3 apartments, all occupied...
I killed the heat, threw the garage door up, an sat in car across the street, about 60 yards away, till owner came, i had to least watch no one went inside as he had been robbed before.. At time i didn't think about it, but should have drove up the street and went to the fire Dept. Just another "when you are young, brain only half works" i spose. I still have no idea why i didn't go to the apartments and alert the occupants, needless to say, learned a lot about how dumb people who "should" know better, don't. And to think ahead to all possibilities if anything ever happens again like that, referring to apartments above.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 11:40PM
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