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 > Be careful with engine block heaters

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NamMedevac 70

Reno

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Posted: 04/20/22 06:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Reno Fire Department released new details following a house fire near Wooster High School.

It happened Monday, April 18, 2022 around 10:45 p.m. at 1570 Clemson Drive.

Fire investigators determined the fire likely started at the exterior wall from an engine block heater and spread to the house through juniper brush that was up against the house.

Firefighters rescued two adults. Both were taken to Renown. A woman is in critical condition, and a male has moderate to severe injuries, the fire department said.

The Reno Fire Department warns against planting shrubs too close to your home, especially ones that are dry and have dead needles that can easily ignite and burn. The Reno Fire Department recommends spacing smaller evergreen shrubs at least 10 feet from your exterior wall and larger evergreen trees 30 feet from your exterior wall.

A fire started in the area of Clemson Road and Duke Way near Wooster High School Monday night.
A fire started in the area of Clemson Road and Duke Way near Wooster High School Monday night.(Dan Pyke |

None of my trucks have block heaters. This info is for others. Cheers

https://www.kolotv.com/2022/04/19/house-fire/


file:///C:/Users/medev/OneDrive/Pictures/Reno%20house%20fire%20photo.webp

* This post was edited 04/20/22 06:44am by NamMedevac 70 *

BobsYourUncle

Calgary Alberta Canada

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Posted: 04/20/22 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Why would you need a block heater in Reno? I use mine in Alberta during the cold times.
I guess anything can happen, but seems like a long shot for a block heater to start a fire.

FYI, your second link points to a file on your own local hard drive.


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Skibane

San Antonio, TX

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Posted: 04/20/22 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BobsYourUncle wrote:

Why would you need a block heater in Reno?


And how could brush come in contact with any part of it?

How could it even get hot enough to ignite brush?

This story has more holes in it than a paper bag full of porcupines.

JRscooby

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Posted: 04/20/22 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most block heaters, the element is submerged in non-flammable liquid, inside a metal container. The heater can't start a fire. OTOH, they do draw a lot of power. If plugged into most cords, the cord and connections can get pretty hot. Add the fact that many people like to keep the cord coiled up, I can see a dry bush catching fire.

navegator

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Posted: 04/20/22 07:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Why would an engine block heater in a vehicle, in a garage start a fire in a bush outside of the garage?

That makes no sence at all!

Unless the extention cord or the wall outlet caught fire and the garage wall whent up in flames and the burning wall burnt trough and ignited the bush outside which in turn helped to spread the fire..... get the idea?

I sincerelly hoppe that both recuperate from the inguries.

navegator

Lwiddis

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Posted: 04/20/22 08:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m unfamiliar with block heaters. How much power do they draw, JR?


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Grit dog

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Posted: 04/20/22 08:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Definitely a strange potential cause.
A block heater or similar could easily short out or have too much resistance and draw too much power (=heat), but would presumably overload that circuit and trip a breaker.
However who knows. Stranger things have happened. Back in the day, my dads 85 Chevy pickup spontaneously combusted in the middle of the night, sitting in the driveway. It was winter, but it was not plugged in. No cause determined, however I do recall it having a finicky + battery connection prior to.
Got lucky though. Fire torched 3 vehicles and destroyed the attached garage but got putout before spreading to the house. 5/8 fire rock does its job and it helped that the garage was a addition so the attic wasn’t connected to the main home.


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BB_TX

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Posted: 04/20/22 08:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Obviously we are all guessing. But my guess would be that the fire started in a faulty outlet that the heater was plugged into. That outlet was on an outside wall. The fire started inside the wall, burned thru to the outside where the juniper was, and quickly spread from the hot juniper fire to the rest of the house on that side.
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BCSnob

Middletown, MD

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Posted: 04/20/22 09:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In order for a planted bush to be involved with the fire it occurred outside the garage. The photo/video from the linked news story shows two vehicles parked in front of the garage and neither appear to have fire damage. These seem to support the ignition occurred at an exterior outlet or in an electrical cord.

ssthrd

Vancouver Island

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Posted: 04/20/22 09:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check this out. If it was a 2017-2019 GMC/Chev with 6.6 Duramax, there has been a recall concerning shorting out block heaters.


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