Zephyrhills, Fla.: “I was trimming lower branches when my 025 [chain saw] cut out on me. I go to the trailer and fill it up, and while I am pulling it to start, it is as if I have no compression. I keep pulling thinking I must be crazy, and all of the sudden, the saw is on fire.
“I freak out, but get the fire out before any damage happens, and pull off the filter cover and see the plug sitting out of the engine.
“Holy crap, I was very lucky to catch it before things got really out of control. I guess I need to check the tightness of my plugs a little more often. I have never had one get loose like that.
“Anyway, the saw is working fine now and all is well, but long story short, check your plug if you feel like you lost compression.”
McMurray, Pa.: “You only say that you got the fire out, but don’t say how.
“While we are on the subject, I know some of you carry a fire extinguisher in your truck. For those who do, or those who have fire safety training, give us some advice on buying a fire extinguisher.
“I’ve been meaning to buy one and install it, but have not done so. Can somebody post some information on what size and type to buy? The primary intent would be to put out equipment fires, or a fire that might happen in the truck itself. The intent would not be to put out a field fire, but rather one that is concentrated in one area, and the target having electrical and fuel elements.”
Murfreesboro, Tenn.: “A 10-pound, dry-chemical extinguisher would be good for the truck, but in an easy to get to place, a 5-pounder at bare minimum, but you really need to know how to use it. I have a small, chrome, 1-pounder on the lower ROPS bar of my Exmark. By the way, I am still a certified fire codes inspector from my fire department days, so you can take this info to heart.”
McMurray, Pa.: “Thanks for that information. Isn’t there some classification of A, B and C that are important?”
Novi, Mich.: “I too am a firefighter. What he said is good advice, but do not delay calling the fire department, especially if the fire is in a trailer, a truck on fire, in or near a building, or another such ‘exposure.’ Fire is an amazingly powerful force and can overwhelm a little extinguisher rather quickly, especially if fueled by a hydrocarbon. [Call] 911 then try to put out, but don’t get yourself hurt while doing it, and never inhale any of the smoke.”
Atlanta, Ga.: “You’re really lucky. I had a fire as well, today. I have a spray rig in the bed of my truck with an electric reel. The battery arced and started smoking. Luckily, it happened when I first pulled up to a job and not going down the road. The guy with me pulled the gas cans away from the area as I got the extinguisher. As soon as the flame was out, we cut the wires to the battery. We got really lucky.”
Richmond, Va.: “Would you mind helping us out? The last time I used one it shocked the crap out of me the entire time. As it empties out, the change in pressure or something charges up static and then unloads through my hands. Please don’t tell me to set it on the ground, because I did, and that didn’t work.”
West Virginia: “Also, don’t breathe the extinguisher compound. It’s some nasty stuff. As far as the type of extinguisher you should buy, I would spend the extra penny and buy an ABC extinguisher, that way you have all of your bases covered, and never forget to have it serviced every year whether you use it or not.”
DFW, Texas: “I might have to consider an extinguisher to use. Also, don’t let your equipment run on the ground in tall grass. Had a guy do that once, not my equipment, and I guess from the heat of the saw, or a spark, or something caught the grass around the saw on fire, then the saw itself. He was doing something, he looks up and sees a fire ring where he left his saw. Poor Stihl was toasted.”
Lima, Ohio: “I don’t have an extinguisher on the truck either. I need one something serious! I kind of got lucky, I beat it with my glove and blew on it until it was out. My next move was to drop it on the road and watch it burn.”
West Virginia: “A good place to start looking for a good extinguisher is right in the Yellow Pages. Look for ‘fire equipment.’ There is bound to be someone in your area who sells and services extinguishers. Might sound stupid, but go to a local public building and look at the tag on their extinguishers. Should have the name of the company who services them.”
Louisville, Ky.: “I just recently added one to my stuff, but what really made me want to get one was that last year, toward the end of the year, I was on my way to another job, going down the highway, and when I got off, I smelled gas really bad, and at the time I had my cans in the back of my truck. I had lost the top to my mixed gas can, so I had a rolled up rag in the nozzle to keep it from evaporating, and the can had flipped over in the back of my truck, and at least a gallon had been spilling out while I was driving. So, I jumped out when I had smelled the gas, because I knew exactly what it was, and when I saw all the gas in the back of my truck, I was scared to death because the slightest little spark, and with it being right on top of the exhaust, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but luckily, nothing happened, and ever since then, I carry one on the trailer and one in the toolbox in the back of my truck.”
Mississippi: “Had a similar incident when flooding my WB. Thought cranking the engine with the plug removed was a good idea—not! Threw a small flame, but nothing spectacular.
“Same deal with spark arrestors. Many operators remove them on day one, but if you ever worked until dusk, you can see sparks thrown every now and then. Even the units with arrestors do it, just that those smaller sparks burn away before reaching the ground.”
Evansville, Ind.: “I have a fire extinguisher on my trucks to meet DOT standards, but I tell my guys, unless a human is in danger, leave the fire fighting to the experts. No fire is worth your life. I have insurance to cover everything.”
Southern Louisiana: “I have a question. Would it be safe to mount the fire extinguisher on the side of an open utility trailer, or should I put it inside my toolbox?”
North Port, Fla.: “I would say in the toolbox. Might walk off if on the side of the trailer.”
Maple Grove, Minn.: “How about a few words from the frozen tundra? Extinguishers will fail if allowed to freeze. I replace mine annually.”