Sunday, February 01, 2009

Buddy Heaters Can be Dangerous

Sunday, 01 February 2009

Using a Buddy Heater with propane tank can be dangerous and needs to be where you can properly watch it at all times. DO NOT have one one while sleeping or away from the room.

Returning back from an endurance trail ride greated by chaos as shown by this photo while owner is walking her horse.

Source: Passed along thanks to trail rider Janis Durham and Kentucky Horse Council

Just back from an endurance ride in Hahira, GA. Sunday morning as we were packing up someone yelled to call 911. I looked out and this rig had smoke coming out of the vents. Ran down there with a fire extinguisher and another fellow and I emptied our extinguishers into the door of the living quarters, but the fire was already established and the propane tanks started catching. From first smoke to melted trailer took maybe 15 min. It was pretty shocking. The owner was out walking her horse at the time of the fire. It started with a "Mr. Buddy" propane space heater left running in the center of the living area. The first person there said they saw smoke, opened the door and the heater was melted in the middle of the floor and the bedding had already caught. It *appears* to have been heater malfunction.

Since the truck was attached and there was no way to unhook it we were able to learn that the heavier (steel?) metal in the gooseneck area apparently shielded the truck. It only had melted tail lights and I would guess some paint damage but it wasn't obvious from the distance. The 2 propane tanks under the gooseneck did not appear to explode thought they may have released their contents and added to the inferno. The fire spead so fast nobody was even able to yank the saddles out of the back even though there were people all around trying to help.

I did learn that my small fire extinguisher is inadequate for anything but a pan fire and I will be replacing it with a considerably larger one for my trailer. I also will *never* leave propane running when I'm outside and a family member is inside asleep again! A combination smoke/CO2 alarm would have been helpful too.

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