hand held gas vapors in storage boxes on truck??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, Mar 17, 2002.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    I recently installed 2 lateral aluminum tool boxes on the truck for secure storage of handhelds and misc tools. Yesterday when I opened one of the tool boxes, the gasoline smell was pretty strong. I have holes drilled on the bottom of the tool boxes but i got to thinking that was wondering if I need to be concerned about explosion/fire?
    there's nothing in the owners manual about explosion so was wondering what some of you think about this explosion potential
  2. Merc145

    Merc145 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 16

    I am a Texas FF/Paramedic and would not feel good about you continuing to keep the equipment like you are doing. Gas produces vapors at -45degr F or so( Some will argue). It is the vapors that actually burn not the fuel itself. If you could get by the vapors without ignition, with a lit match, you could actually put it out in the fuel.!! By enclosing the compartment with the vapors you have created a perfct eviroment for a nice explosion. If it is steel toolbox, it would only take a spark, if a plastic toolbox, then maybe a little static electricity would set it off too. Please do not store them like that. Thanx for my babbling time.

    *Hank moves his soapbox and leaves the podium.*

  3. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    hank--you are right. but we rarely ever hear about what you are talking about in tool boxes.

    I have had boats with inboard engine compartments and the chance of explosion is very real because the spark is produced by the engine if the compartment is not vented properly.

    fire on water--a really bad deal.

    here, our volunteer fire fighters are miracle workers. carry on!

  4. yardboyltd

    yardboyltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    A kid last year put gas rag in a tupperware bowl and sealed the lid. Well the garage is gone now...
  5. Craig Turf Management

    Craig Turf Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    Get those pieces of equipment out of the toolboxes, and give them some air.
    Bill Craig!
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I am also a FF/PM and I would strongly recommend that you change your storage procedures.

    There are 2 limits that you have to be concerned with and here is a slightly technical explanation:
    Gasoline has a lower explosive limit (LEL) of 1.4% by volume and an upper explosive limit (UEL) of 7.6%. The percentages within the LEL and UEL represent flammable gasoline/air mixtures. Therefore, a flammable gasoline/air mixture can exist when 100 ml (approx. 200 drops) of gasoline liquid is vaporized in 1 cubic metre (approx. 35 cubic feet) of confined air space. Furthermore, gasoline vapour is heavier than air and tends to collect in lower compartments of the boat. Therefore, a small leak or spill can present a significant hazard of explosion and fire.

    If the mix is too rich or lean, it will not combust. So right in the box you may or may not have an explosive mixture. You won't know unless you have a monitor. Gas also has a low boiling point (which changes a liquid into a vapor) so there will be differing concentrations on warm vs colder days. Gas vapors are heavier than air so they run at the lowest level. Lots of ignition potential at the lower levels too. Exhaust pipes, cigarette butts, electric lights etc.
    I would invest in some outside locking storage systems as mentioned above. Stay safe.
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    I thought this might be dangerous and you guys confirmed...thanks for the details from you firefighters especially. I have the split boom ECHO handhelds so I'll keep the attachments in the toolboxes and the engine cabled in the bed of the truck. thanks again
  8. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Wow... thank you FF/PM's. I understand the concern for storing gas in a confined space and need for ventilation. Do you have any specific recommendations for venting an aluminum (or otherwise) tool box? On our construction dump we keep a chop saw in one box (have not smelled gas before), a back back blower in the large compartment (have not smelled gas - but is opened and left open a lot... except for night) and then a gas gan in another one, where we do smell gas. Can we vent the box appropriately?

    As well, speaking of gas storage. What about the gas cabinets - or flammable liquid storage units? Are these vented? If so how? Do you recommend these for the shop/garage?

    Lastly, do you know of any written SOP type material for storing flamable liquids/gas?

    PS - Anyone use Sceptor brand gas cans? I'm looking for replacement plastic caps for the 2.5 gal and 5 gal unit - though they're the same size.
  9. AndyL

    AndyL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Zoiks! I'd also appreciate hearing about proper ventilation!

    I just spent almost 4 grand on lots of steel and hardware, to build lockable boxes on the back of my two trucks. (no yard to speak of, just 2 parking spots on the street) Didn't even think about ventilation...

    How do the guys with the fully enclosed trailer get away without fires/explosions?

  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Andy...thats the same ? I was thinking..those enclosed trailers have to get like an oven inside ...add to that the vent is in the roof plus they're driving hot mowers inside next to gas cans then driving off to the next job with a potential bomb in the back? I'm not being argumentative, but I hope these warnings are not excessivley cautious. I always err on the safe side of things which is why I started this thread in the first place but we also have to weigh the risk against the probable/possible outcome...and again I don't mean to be argumentative with the fire experts here.
    The warnings on a paint can make it sound like your house will blow up if you dont do this and that and that...with a little common sense venting I doubt too many house blow up in the winter when Harry Homeowner paints his basement..

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