Today I was visiting a cabinet shop and the owner recounted the story of how his shop went up in flames one afternoon. I will begin by saying this particular shop is among the most organized, well laid out shops I have seen. It would be the last shop I would expect a major fire or any accident to happen; but here is his account.
According to the owner, he had been spraying lacquer in the spray booth (room) most of the afternoon. When completed he was cleaning up and, as routine, was using a metal scraper of sorts to peal up the over spray from the concrete floor.
Suddenly, he noticed a small, black, smoking ring had developed in the pile of scrapings he had built up. He then took his foot and stepped on the smoldering spot which then split, jumped and multiplied into several smaller smoldering hot spots. Apparently, the action of scraping the metal on the concrete floor had caused a spark, igniting the small pile of debris.
By the time he went for the nearby fire extinguisher, the entire spray room had filled with smoke and was now ablaze. The fire extinguisher had little effect.
Call in the GVFD!
They arrived quickly but not until after 25% of the building was ablaze and smoke, combined with super-heated air, was moving through the air lines to many of the machines in other rooms. As the super-heated air reached the drop-down ducts to each machine, the heat melted the ductwork. In the case of the planer, the heat also melted several internal parts including the spindle.
The fire department was able to contain the fire to about 25% of the building but additional heat and smoke damage affected other rooms. Fortunately too, the wind was blowing in a direction opposite the adjoining house or the toll could have been much higher.
He has re-built and is once again in operation. As they used to say on the old T.V. show, Hill Street Blues – “Hey, be careful out there.”
From contributor J:
It does not take much.