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Re: [pct-l] Stove Fuel Accidents

On Wed, 18 Feb 1998 13:57:34 -0800, Greg Hummel wrote:

>The moral of the story is:  If you choose to cook inside your tent due to
>weather you had better be extremely careful.

I think some care should be exercised when cooking inside a shelter as well.

While hiking the AT in '95 I found myself at the Mt Collins shelter in the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park the same day a crew from "Good Morning
America" was there to shoot footage of AT hikers for a National Park series.

One of the crew members fired up a white gas stove that has an integrated
fuel tank below the burner (don't recall the model) inside the shelter.  He
was standing on the floor of the shelter with the stove on the top bunk
level; just about eye level.  Well, there apparently was a leak in the tank,
maybe he didn't seal the refill port tight, and soon there were flames
shooting out the back of the stove's fuel tank.  The guy didn't see it until
I pointed it out to him and in the next instant the stove was a mass of

He had set the stove up on a heavy piece of plastic so grabbing hold of the
plastic he quickly lowered the stove to the shelter's dirt floor.  By now
there were flames shooting many feet above the stove licking at the packs
all neatly suspended overhead.   Seeing the dilema he snapped the plastic
sheet taught and flung the stove outside the door of the shelter.  This huge
flaming ball bounced directly between the rest of the gang standing around
the fire pit just outside the shelter door.  Amazingly nobody was hit and
the mass of flames was quickly extinguished.

It all happened quite quickly and it taught me never to underestimate the
potential damage one could cause with a white gas stove.   Sadly the camera
man wasn't shooting at the time.  I would have paid for a copy of that
footage.  :)


AT '95 - '96
CT '97

A volunteer for the "Olympus Mons Summit Expedition" - Mars 2005

Jeffrey Grinnell            <grinnell@capital.net>

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