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Brian Madigan

Another Shop Fire

18 posts in this topic

I was doing some machine fab and had to fillet a weld with an angle grinder. Something near my shop (leaves? paper? don't know) caught the sparks and smoldered for an hour before turning into what you see here. The entire open structure where I do all the hot work burned to the ground. The roof of that structure was glass reinforced corrugated plastic. That stuff burns NASTY. There was a big toxic black smoke cloud dropping glass fibers everywhere. I really wish there was no plastic on my house, but the previous owner installed vinyl siding for low maintenance.

One side of the garage burned up, but is still standing. The fire burned off all the siding and insulation, went up into the roof and loft where there was a lot of dry wood, set that on fire. 

I didn't get any pictures of the excitement, but there were 4 fire trucks and about 20 of the city's finest. Fires get put out FAST around here thankfully. 

I don't think the structure will dry out without getting all moldy, so it's best to tear it down and start over.  

I've started cleaning up and leveling the ground around it so I can get some plans drawn up for a new shop. 

IMG_20170507_123822.jpg

IMG_20170507_123838.jpg

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Goodness Brian. Glad you're okay...? Good luck with it all.

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I'm fine; I was 10 feet away in the house taking a nap. It could have been a lot worse, but the neighborhood kids saw the smoke and called 911. They probably saved my ass. 

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Oh man, I am sorry to see that.  I'm glad you are ok, and happy to hear you are already rebuilding.  good luck!

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Glad to hear you're okay. Round of burgers and sodas for those kids.

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Dude!  I'm so sorry!  

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Glad to hear it wasn't worse! I always worry about those un-seen sparks. If I do quite a bit of it I try to make my way back to my shop to take a peek later. All it takes is one un-seen spark.

 

I use to smoke, (I quit about 18 yrs. ago), anyway I get this guy pull up along side me at the red light and says, Dude their is something on fire in the back of your truck or underneath it. I turn and this large trail of smoke is coming from my truck. The light turns green and I head for the nearest parking lot and pull off. There were some rags in the bag of my truck from a job that were in a box in the back of my truck. I had thrown a cigarette from the cab at least 45 min., before that. The butt had to have went back into the bed and wedged against the box.

It smoldered until the box corner had caught fire and when it burnt thru the box corner it hit the rags and the wind from going down the road had fanned the ember and well when I had stopped at the light or two before the rags soaked with stain, had ignited into a fire!!

But again I always worry after doing a lot of grinding or welding, a spark can lay and smolder for some time before it ignites!!!! I try and position myself so the  sparks are hitting the concrete. In the winter time when the leaves collect I sometimes take the hose after finishing and water down any of the area outside when done for the day!!! Inside the shop can be a real problem as well! A bit of sawdust piled up, rags wood, combustibles, etc. etc.! My friend once walked into my shop and says, my God man you are a fireman's worst nightmare!! We all do it paint, thinners, and other products we use in the making!! I have fire extinguishers in several places in my shop! This story is making me think about smoke detectors in the shop!

Glad to hear you and family was OK!!! Sometimes its hard but you have to count your blessings for what could have been!

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5 hours ago, Brian Madigan said:

I don't think the structure will dry out without getting all moldy, so it's best to tear it down and start over.  

I've started cleaning up and leveling the ground around it so I can get some plans drawn up for a new shop. 

I am glad to hear you and yours are safe. On the positive side (budget dependant of course) you can design a dream shop given the space available, fit for purpose, without having to make do with what was there. I hope you were insured and they are taking care of you.

Good to know some of the neighbor hood kids are responsible enough. This is really encouraging. 

Keep your chin up and look for the silver lining. :) 

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Thanks ya'll.  I was pretty worn out and trying to get work done while people kept coming in and out of the yard and shop. There are days (every day) when I'd like my shop to be in some secret industrial location that nobody knows about. If I get distracted, it's me that ends up paying for it. I've told everyone not to come near the shop while I'm running any machines, but nobody seems to understand that piece of shop etiquette. Many times people knock or bang on the door while I'm grinding bevels, or they just come in and appear in my peripheral suddenly, which is really f-ing annoying and dangerous. A few times this year I've burned damascus or a forging I had lots of hours into. 

I'm going back and forth with State Farm on the insurance. They're insisting it can be 'restored', but no contractor is going to come in and build on a broken foundation with fire and water damage all over the place. Once the fire department gets at a building, it's gotta be torn down. Especially one this old. 

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That really sucks Brian, are your tools and materials okay? 

My dad got bit between the eyebrows with an angle grinder (aaaaaahhhhhhhhh) so I watched some safety videos before really using one, one thing I learned is to aim the sparks so they don't all go into a big pile of sawdust or rags with wood finish in them. 

We have to be in control of the fire, water, earth, and air. Don't just use it, we're playing with magic pretty much. Benevolent powerful magic that we have to guide. 

Hopefully people will respect your workspace now. There is a lot of wild energy in our shops, people have to understand that!

C craft has the right idea, you play with fire play with the hose, I spray down my work space occasionally as well. 

dont forget to put a lock on the new shop! hope it all works out for you. I get excited when people visit me in my shop unexpected, still a good way to ruin things. 

 

now Who has the next reason for me to hate angle grinders?

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6 hours ago, steven smith said:

Who has the next reason for me to hate angle grinders?

Did you see my Angle Grinder vs Leg post in shop safety? 

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Bits of metal in the eye from angle grinder and yes I always wear safety shield so no idea why I'm so unlucky 

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I moved another ton of machinery and materials out of the soon to be demolished garage. That was about 1/8th of what needs to be moved. I forgot I had a Mercedes engine + trans back there next to the engine lathe. I have a few ideas how I'm going to move a 5000# engine lathe from a bad floor to an even worse asphalt surface. Most of them involve dragging it with a truck. Dragging it on some 6x6" lumber rails. OSHA says it's ok. 

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Well Brian, as an OSH guy myself i would say, lock out the knees, bend and the waste only and have a good old solid crack at moving it... :ph34r: Bahahha. I assume # = Lbs? If so, crane perhaps? Round logs to help roll with a car/truck winch? 

Anyway, sound like there is some progress. Any thoughts/plans for the new shop?  Care to share? 

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Man, that's really sad. I hope your insurance will cover it. I'm always paranoid about burning my shop down, there is just so many things that could light it on fire. I always try to keep any paper, wood shavings, or anything that could be caught on fire by a stray piece of coal or metal out of the floor. I also douse my fire and try to pick up the tools I've used a bit so that if anything is smoldering, I should find it.

Good luck with your new shop!

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Its called find a buddy with a wrecker or better yet a lift truck and invite him over for a beer or twelve! :o;):P Say man you think that wrecker truck you got there could slide in back there and pickup that lathe, You know just until the new shop is built. Oh by the way don't forget you need at least one opening with a door big enough to get all the heavy items in the new shop!!!!

Edited by C Craft

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Plans! Tuesday I had a couple of contractors over to take a look. The garage was originally 16'x18.5'. I don't know how you could fit a car in a 16' deep garage, but I guess a Model-T or Model-A would fit. It was then extended to 18' in the 70's, which still isn't big enough for a modern car or truck, and definitely not big enough for a Lincoln from the 70s. 

It's got a wall in between the car park and the shop, which is really just in the way. So I'm going to do an open plan 20'x24' with a gable roof, one window, a 10'x7' steel overhead door. I'm asking contractors for more than the standard garage floor (wire mesh, 6 bag mix over crushed stone, 4" deep). 

I'm getting quotes for steel siding, fiber cement and vinyl. Fiber cement is 5x more than vinyl, so it will add about $3k to the final price.

I have one quote for $20,500, includes all demo and cleanup, concrete, all permits, inspections and taxes. I'll have to do all the 220v and 220-3ph electrical stuff. 

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I dont think that is a terribly bad price, but i know nothing on the US cost of things. For 20' x 24' foot shed here, so roughly 6m x 7.5m would cost you in the vicinity of $10K, this is delivered, not installed. And no concrete. 

However, when i am doing a large project i always get 3 quotes. Also allows you to play them off against each other. lol. Good luck. 

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