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Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by blueiron, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. blueiron


    Aug 10, 2004
    Fumes from biodiesel kit cause house explosion in SurpriseReported by: Tim Vetscher
    Last Update: 8/24 6:40 pm

    The garage of this Surprise home caught fire early Sunday after fumes from chemicals used for making bio-diesel caused an explosion.

    Investigators say fumes from chemicals used in making biodiesel sparked an explosion Sunday morning at a home near Litchfield and Greenway roads in Surprise.

    Darren Spreadbury says he recently started making biodiesel in his garage to save money on the high price of gasoline.

    He admits to ordering a kit off the internet and mixing the chemicals: lye, vegetable oil and methanol in the garage.

    Sunday morning, some oily rags in Spreadbury's garage combusted and caught fire. The flames from that fire ignited fumes in a nearby methanol drum, sparking an explosion.

    "We knew about (Spreadbury) doing the biodiesel but we didn't think he was a danger to us," said neighbor Shannon Daron.

    When asked if she now felt differently, Daron replied "absolutely."

    The fire never spread beyond the garage and Spreadbury and his family were not injured.

    A spokesperson for the Surprise Fire Department said Sunday they're concerned more people will turn to alternative fuels like biodiesel with the rising price of gas.

    Asst. Chief Kevin Pool worries, if not installed and maintained properly, they could see more fires started by people making biodiesel at home. "You might make one little mistake like this and there could be a tragedy," said Pool. "It's at your own risk and your neighbor's risk."

    "We just bought this house," said Daron. "We don't want it jeopardized or our children."

    The Surprise Fire Department recommends people only buy biodiesel kits from reputable dealers on the internet and to make biodiesel in a commercial setting, never at home.
  2. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    Don't tell me... he had no ventilation?

  3. D25

    D25 The Quick

    Jan 26, 2003
    Biodiesel may be new, but dumb has been our bread and butter for a long time.
  4. blueiron


    Aug 10, 2004
    More information....

    Homemade biodiesel causes Surprise explosion
    by Lily Leung - Aug. 25, 2008 10:19 AM
    The Arizona Republic

    Fumes from chemicals used to make biodiesel fuel reacted with cleaning fluid, causing an explosion early Sunday morning at a Surprise home, fire officials said.

    The homeowner told investigators he was making the alternative fuel in his garage as a way to save money, an up-and-coming trend that may lead to future catastrophes if not done correctly, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Pool said Monday.

    Firefighters responded to a garage fire about 6 a.m. in the 16000 block of North 138th Drive. Upon further investigation, fire crews discovered that spontaneous combustion had resulted after heat was exchanged between a used rag and a cleaning solvent inside a plastic bucket, Pool explained. That was aggravated when vapors from a drum of ethanol met with the rag, causing an explosion.

    Pool said the loud noise awoke the homeowner, who went outside to find out what was going on. Firefighters reported that the front garage door was heavily damaged, but the fire had not spread to the rest of the home.

    As investigators dug deeper, they realized the chemicals had been used to manufacture biodiesel.

    Pool said he has heard of at least two other cases in the Valley in which people made their own fuel at home, in light of the soaring gas prices. He suspects more people will follow suit.

    "With the price of fuel and all these devices being available, you would see things of this nature," he said. "You could see the whole system set up in his garage."

    Pool said it's a "relatively simple" process that involves vegetable oil, and people can easily get the equipment online.

    However, he warned that fuel should only be made if it is managed well.
  5. Da-Squad

    Da-Squad Capt/Ret.

    Jan 1, 2008
    :thumbsup: Job security.
  6. pulaskipusher

    pulaskipusher Topodaworldma!

    May 1, 2007
    North Idaho
    Gotta love backyard chemists
  7. Glkster19


    May 12, 2001
    Lansing, MI
    And out city mgr wants us to use the bio-diesel that our local high school students want to make as part of their science class. They make it and we store it and then use it in the city vehicles so we can be green. I'll show him this article.
  8. DTLarson


    Mar 1, 2007
    There is really 2 main problems with biodiesel.

    1) There currently isn't really anything you can do with the waste product that comes from it

    2) It will eat away at many seals in engines if they haven't been designed for biodiesel. Also, any leaks that may be contained by congealed fuel will be dislodged.