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Ever started a fire while soldering

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Just curious if anybody accidentally did this (or purposely I suppose). I did once. Caught some wood shavings on fire that were on top of the heating duct work while I was doing a full stub out. I had an extinguisher with me and took care of it right away. Couple stories made me think of this.

    One is from this link http://www.durangoherald.com/asp-bi...e=news&article_path=/news/08/news080307_1.htm
    A plumber who was soldering in unit 1 caused the fire when a spark landed on insulation, Abercrombie said. Two condos burned due to it.

    The other was from another guy that told me his tech was using the torch to thaw frozen pipes (for a blow out I guess), caught the house on fire and caused $70k in damage.

    I'm telling my guys to always pull out the extinguisher when they pull out the torch.
  2. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 25,382

    Nope , but I do keep a spray bottle of water in my plumbing bucket to cool the area before and after.
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    I keep a spray bottle handy, and wet down wood around the pipe before I fire up the torch, but I also have a heat shield I made from some scrap sheet aluminum for when I'm working close to wood or other combustibles... has worked so far.
  4. Without A Drought

    Without A Drought LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,019

    i never started a fire soldering, but i did inadvertently drain the house main into a customer's central vac unit.

  5. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,690

    Only ever a bit of smoldering, then spray bottle fix.
  6. Ferti-man

    Ferti-man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    Now this sounds interesting! More details please. I did a solder job by a stud today with no problems, though insulation backing paper gave me a bit of a hissy. A bit of water took care of the problem. Just left a bit of smokey smell for a while. Nothing an open window wouldn't cure :rolleyes:. I have aluminum sheet metal and a 12" square insulated blanket that I use on occasion, but not today for some reason.:hammerhead:
  7. I set some very dry mulch on fire once soldering a riser close to the base. I was amazed at how rapid it started spreading and had to do some major foot stamping in a hurry. It could easily have spread out of control.
  8. Ferti-man

    Ferti-man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    In the dry summers around here, field fires get started from cigarettes all the time. They spread quickly in the grasses. It is not uncommon to see burn patches along unmaintained streets and highways from this. Some get pretty big before fire crews put them out. I have called in a few along I-25 in north Denver myself that ended up burning 1/2 the section of natural grasses between the highway and the off ramp before the fire crews got there and put them out. Businesses just a 100 yards on the other side of the off ramp!
    I keep a water bottle around when soldering and a fire extinguisher not too far away if I need it. So far, the water bottle has worked well. They say grass fires are so fast that you cannot outrun them when they get going! :dizzy:
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I used to have some of this on the truck as well. Not sure where it ever went though. Used it quite a bit.

    the one that scares me is when the stub out and backflow preventer are right next to or right above the GAS METER and I have to do some repair. I've actually turned down three repairs in the past due to smelling the natural gas when getting ready to do the repairs. I had the customers call the utility department to check and fix, then I came back to do the repair.
  10. Ferti-man

    Ferti-man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 252

    Definitely not a good combo to have! Better safe than sorry. What was the cause of the smell, do you know? meter or fitting?

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