Pflaum Road Fire Caused by Unsafe Use of Cutting Torch

February 8, 2012

Fire investigators announced that yesterday's fire at 4914 Pflaum Road started when gasoline vapors were ignited by a cutting torch. A worker was cutting metal with the torch inside the building. Sparks from the cutting operation ignited gasoline vapors in the area by the torch and the flames quickly spread to a car and other nearby combustibles.

The fire caused $250,000 damage to the auto detail shop where it originated. Minor damage was noted in other businesses in the commercial building. No injuries were reported.

The following precautions are recommended for anyone using a welder, torch, or any equipment that produces a flame or sparks:

• Remove all combustible or flammable items from the work area including construction debris, flammable liquids, flammable vapors, dust, and lint.
• If fire hazards cannot be removed, use adequate shielding to prevent sparks, slag, and heat from igniting the fire hazards.
• Openings or cracks in walls, floors, ducts, or shafts shall be covered to prevent passage of sparks and slag.
• Keep a fire extinguisher nearby while working.
• Provide a fire watch while performing the work and for at least 30 minutes after completion.

  • Eric Dahl, 608-261-9845