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Re: The transport truck fire posted here.

 

I keep my car in my garage which is attached to and part of the house structure  

 

Some of the comments regarding "old cars" and fire risk beg the question.

Do fires in collector cars happen more often than in modern cars?

 

Have you had a collector car fire?   Do you keep  the battery disconnected because of  concern of a fire when the car is garaged?

 

 

 

Thanks for the feed back

 

Wayne 

1941 Buick 

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Well, I'd make two comments.  The first is that the transport trailer fire appears to be an equipment failure fire, not a vehicle fire.  The pictures of the damaged truck shown on this forum seem to support that idea, if it had been a vehicle fire INSIDE the trailer, then the truck (which apparently was parked over the rear wheels which burned) would have burned more, and not just been burned/scorched around driver's door where the trailer was on fire.

 

As far as collector cars, I've seen three kinds of fires.

 

The first is a fuel fire, in the engine compartment, caused by a backfire or leaking gasoline.

 

The second is the "battery under the seat" fire, caused by the metal of the seat contacting battery posts, sparking and heating steel to create a fire.  Cord 810's and 812's are prone to this, if battery cover is left off, due to design of seats.

 

The third is an electrical short.  The most bizarre one of this kind I've seen was the top wood framework in a '30's sedan, completely turned into charcoal, due to a short at the dome light.  Conceivably, a mouse could chew a wire and cause a short.

 

To me, all of these need some kind of action or motion to occur, thus the chance of a car sitting in storage spontaneously catching on fire doesn't make much sense.  If it's just been started or driven, yes, there's a possibility, but not if it's just parked.

 

That said, there's no real downside to having a battery cutoff switch, or disconnecting the battery for longer term storage.

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Fires are common on prewar cars. When I built my home with an attached garage 15 years ago, I did the following:

Double layer sheet rock and additional fire brakes between the house and garage. Basically an additional firewall for the home. I have a six inch pitch floor so I can release a chock block to allow a car to roll out of the garage with no effort in the event it catches fire. Fire,smoke, and rate of temperature change alarm sensors in the garage, with a direct landline,cell,and radio back up. Extra fire extinguishers all around. I do not store any gas cans in my garage. Keep all old rags in a fireproof container. Battery disconnect switches on all my cars. No open source of flame in my household garage at any time.

I have been in the hobby 40 years, three friends have lost their home to a garage fire, several others I also know in passing over the years. Add on to the modern fuel problems in old cars that require so much fuel system work, and there is opportunity for disaster more than one would like to admit. After all of the above, I was still fortunate to use extra heavy framing on the house and garage when a tree came over in a thunderstorm, the extra heavy framing and structural steel saved the house, and my toolbox, the car was just out of reach. Ed.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I have been wondering the same thing.

 

And, since I am having some work done on the garage also wondered: If I recall correctly, in the older Uniform Building Code there was a requirement for low vents in a structure that could hold a automobile. These vents had to be sized based on number of vehicles and had to be below any source of ignition.

 

Apparently the current codes don't require this any longer and the date I that it changed seems to be a bit after the wide spread adoption of sealed fuel systems and fuel injection.

 

Since my old carbureted car with a vented fuel system will be in the garage, should I pay attention to the old UBC and have vents added to the garage? I am strongly leaning toward that.

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  • I use fuel shut off valves in all my prewar cars to prevent fuel leaks when the cars are parked. 

When parking my cars for long term storage, I shut off the gas & run the cars until all the fuel in the carb. is gone. 

My home shop has radiant floor heat from a natural gas water heater that could be an ignition source. 

Code requires gas water heaters in a garage to be elevated to prevent ignition of any fluids that may leak from automobiles.  

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In 54 years of driving, I have personally experienced 3 fires.

 

All were vehicles that were less than 3 years old. Two that I purchased new, the third that had a new carburetor installed by a professional shop (I was 16 at the time, so Dad thought it best to have it done professionally.

 

All three caught fire while I was driving them.

 

All three had the same brand of 4 barrel carburetor that leaked.

 

For any vehicle with an updraft carburetor, a fuel shut-off valve is an excellent idea. The battery switch probably is also, but I don't use one on any of my collector cars.

 

Someone mentioned gas heat. I have electric so not applicable to me; but not sure I would ever garage a vehicle in a garage with a gas heater or gas hot water heater. It shouldn't be a problem, but some dude named Murphy passed a law.......;)

 

Jon.

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I will throw my two cents in here.  A number of years ago a member had a fire in his pole barn that was started by a mouse chewing on the battery cable in a 50's Packard four dour. It was destroyed but a Packard Convt and a Jag were unharmed. I disconnect the batteries on all my cars now and turn the fuel shutoff on all the brass cars. Amazingly, he was in the fire sprinkler business but did not do his barn.

Tom Muth

SOC, AACA

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On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2016 at 7:58 AM, edinmass said:

 Fire,smoke, and rate of temperature change alarm sensors in the garage, with a direct landline,cell,and radio back up. Extra fire extinguishers all around. I do not store any gas cans in my garage. Keep all old rags in a fireproof container. Battery disconnect switches on all my cars. No open source of flame in my household garage at any time.

 

Excellent fire prevention advice.

  If I might add to that, when charging batteries, use modern chargers with a self-shutoff, and charge them in an area free of combustible materials.  Check the battery temperature frequently during the early stages of charging, since that is when charging amperage is at its greatest.

Ply33,

What you are describing are natural draft low-level, or "floor level" vents.   These are an excellent idea since almost all combustible vapors are heavier than air.  As I recall an old Factory Mutual Standard, these vents should be located a maximum of 6 or 8 inches above floor level.  The number and size of the vents varied according to occupancy involved; i.e., whether or not the building was used for flammable liquids storage or flammable liquids dispensing and whether or not the vents were mechanical (fan-driven) draft.  I don't know where "Spanish Village by the Sea" is, but if it's warm there, floor-level vents would not have too much of an effect on the inside temperature of your garage.  Where ever you live, the vents should be fitted with substantial screens to prevent the entry of unwanted guests (varmints etc.).

Cheers,

Grog

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42 minutes ago, capngrog said:

Ply33,

What you are describing are natural draft low-level, or "floor level" vents.   These are an excellent idea since almost all combustible vapors are heavier than air.  As I recall an old Factory Mutual Standard, these vents should be located a maximum of 6 or 8 inches above floor level.  The number and size of the vents varied according to occupancy involved; i.e., whether or not the building was used for flammable liquids storage or flammable liquids dispensing and whether or not the vents were mechanical (fan-driven) draft.  I don't know where "Spanish Village by the Sea" is, but if it's warm there, floor-level vents would not have too much of an effect on the inside temperature of your garage.  Where ever you live, the vents should be fitted with substantial screens to prevent the entry of unwanted guests (varmints etc.).

Cheers,

Grog

Thanks for that. I guess with modern well sealed fuel systems the the domestic garage fire issue has changed. Or maybe they just found that most vehicle fires were electrical in nature and having low vents did nothing to address that. Might be interesting to dig into the discussions that occurred when that was dropped from the building codes.

FWIW, just moved from "the valley of heart's content"  a.k.a. "Silicon Valley" to "Spanish Village by the Sea" and was just assuming that people would use an Internet search engine if they were curious about where the locations are. Both places have reasonably warm winters, though warmer here by the beach than up there by the bay.

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