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Custodian burned to death on Dixie Chopper

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BCPHOTO, May 10, 2010.


    BCPHOTO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Custodian at the Carmel Indiana High School, was engulfed in flames while mowing on a Dixie Chopper. Passersby helped extinguish the flames and he was taken to the hospital where he later died.

    On another tv news report, a witness said that fuel was spraying out of the mower onto the victim and he was trying to shut it off. They also reported that it was a Dixie.


  2. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,253

    Dixie is in bad shape anyway, now there will likely be a lawsuit and they will probably have to payout millions of dollars? I dont think Dixie will be around too much longer! Where is the fuel shut off on these mowers anyway? Mine are real easy to get to.
  3. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    Could be as simple as a fuel hose coming loose or cracked open due to age or maybe was rubbing on something and got a hole in it. May be hard to pin this one on Dixie. A lot of operator abuse or neglect in maintenance could very well have been the cause. I would imagine someone would have to show Dixie had a design flaw that allowed this to happen before they'd be on the hook.

    BCPHOTO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Kind of a shame since they are made here. I saw one mowing an airport ditch about the same day that accident happened. He was stuck with both wheels in the bottom of the V, spinning and going nowhere. Of course that would happen with any ztr I believe.
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    It may just be poor maintenance/neglect, in fact I'm willing to bet that's what it is.

    I check my mowers over once a week for loose or rubbing lines and fittings, and double-check the fuel lines to make sure they're not rubbing through on anything. After all, the last thing you want is a fuel fire where you're sitting.
  6. big acres

    big acres LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    That's a sad deal.

    I too once had a ztr go up in flames while I was on it. It was a lesco, and getting old. The tailpipe which was factory welded to the muffler and curved downward had the welds come loose while I was mowing. The curved pipe vibrated and rotated to curve upward directly onto the plastic gas tank.

    When I turned to stripe in the other direction, I caught a glimmer out of the corner of my eye.... the last strip had a trail of flames. Then I look over my shoulder to see three foot flames trailing off the tank. I was off the machine in seconds, but had an extinguisher in the truck... new tank and muffler and was good to go.

    Glad I was hauling azz on that lawn or those flames mighta got me instead of trailing behind.
  7. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    Not saying it wasn't a DC, but I looked at at least a dozen articles, curious as to which model and age, and not one mentioned the brand. Anybody got a link with that info?
  8. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 702

    he didn't die, he was injured.
  9. bradsd

    bradsd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    This could happen with any mower brand. I think I am sitting on about 14 gallons of fuel, this is a good lesson to us all on what can happen and to keep this in mind when mowing.
  10. Snuzz

    Snuzz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

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