This Damned Immortality is Going to get Me Killed Someday...

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by 350350, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. 350350

    350350 1/2 ton status

    Sep 25, 2003
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    Started the day off with a real bang. Had high hopes of getting the Camaro running today.

    Had a couple of exhaust studs that I needed to heat with the torch, as well as a couple of brake fittings before I could make any more progress. Fired up the torch, and got busy on that first big brake fitting inside the driver's side rear fender well. Car up on jacks and wheels off. Boy standing safely nearby for 'torching'.

    So I'm almost ready to pull the heat on the fitting and a nearby wire loom starts to melt and smoke. I figure it can take one or two more seconds, after all it has one of those corrugated plastic tubes over it.

    Then, all hell broke loose! The next thing I know, the entire inner fender well, my arm, and the ground under the car were all on fire. Being on fire really sucks. I quickly realized that there was fuel spraying out of the 'wire loom' about 4 feet and wasn't showing any signs of stopping soon.

    Now, I have to break from the story to tell you a little about myself. I've been around a while, pretty much seen and done it all, and I can't remember the last time that something frightened, startled, excited, or in any other way got my heart pumping faster than it pumps when I'm asleep. Being on fire is no exception.

    Any person with any amount of sense at all would have grabbed the Boy and ran for dear life. The car is insured, it's replaceable, and at this point I'd be in pretty good shape if it got hauled off and insurance had to buy me another one anyway... But like I said, that would be a person with any real sense, or a person with a 'fight or flight' instinct. I have neither.

    I did have the sense to turn the torch off and toss it in the shrubs nearby, and as I wrapped my arm in my shirt to put it out, I told the Boy to run. I then sat there and watched the fire to determine the best way put it out. Still spraying fuel which was still creating a larger fire.

    I quickly saw that the fuel line was very close to the tank, and if/when it ran out of fuel it might very well allow a flame backdraft into the tank and 'shaboom!', we'd once again test my immortality. I looked the other way down the fuel line and realized that this was the very same line that I had tried to siphon fuel out of last weekend, and couldn't get a drop from. So there wasn't much fuel in there. So I pulled my shirt off and wrapped it around the fuel line, tucking it in tightly between the car and the line. This stopped the gusher, but the inner fender well and the ground under the tank and line were still on fire. And I now was naked from the waste up.

    I ran to the other side of the car and grabbed all the rags I had laying around, and returned to find that I had to use them to wrap around my now gas-soaked shirt, since it was now on fire although it was stopping the fuel from spraying everywhere. I put the ground fire out by kicking the gravel away, and most of the fender well had burned itself out by now with no more gusher to feed it.

    I then sat there surveying the mess, realizing that I could very well have blown the whole thing to smitherines, and wondered yet again why I hadn't just let the thing burn. I'm not THAT sentimental about vehicles. Normally I have several fire extinguishers at-the-ready in the garage, but unfortunately this is a driveway project, so I was ill-prepared.

    Damage appeared to be limited to the one PLASTIC fuel line that had burned, the plastic corrugated tubing that was hiding it, the pelt on my arm, and my t-shirt. Also some cardboard that I was laying on.

    About then the Boy came running out of the house with Mom, yelling, "Dad's on Fire, Dad's on Fire!", and Mom could still see the lingering smoke, although I was clearly no longer on fire. Pissed off and waiting to make sure no new fires sprung up, but no longer on fire.

    The Wife saw the look of disgust on my face, looked at the mess of burnt cardboard and rags on the ground, and said, "Set it back on fire and come in for lunch." Then walked back in the house. The Boy stayed outside to work with me, but asked, "Are you done burning things now Dad?"

    Ahhh... Father's Day. What a better way to spend the day...

    Lessons Learned...

    /forums/images/graemlins/weld.gif Keep a fire extinguisher strapped to your torch.
    /forums/images/graemlins/weld.gif Immortality doesn't make it any less painful to be on fire.
    /forums/images/graemlins/weld.gif If the entire underside of your fenderwell is on fire, and is being fed by a steady streaming spray of fuel, have the damn good sense to run for your freakin' life!
    /forums/images/graemlins/weld.gif At least '95 and newer GM vehicles don't use high pressure rubber fuel line anymore. They use very thin-walled and highly flammable plastic fuel line!!! It looks exactly like a really big plastic vacuum line. (You know the kind of plastic line that always got brittle under your hood and you had to replace it with rubber...)

    Paul 'X' /forums/images/graemlins/shame.gif
  2. dremu

    dremu Officious Thread Derailer Premium Member GMOTM Winner

    Feb 27, 2000
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    East of San Francisco
    Some observatations, in no particular order:

    1. You have missed your calling as a columnist for e.g. Car And Driver.

    2. We're all glad you're still alive.

    3. You have sense: you took care of the kid.

    -- A
  3. sled_dog

    sled_dog 1 ton status

    Sep 3, 2002
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    Austin, TX
    sounds familiar. is it sad that I'm only 18 and I had no flight instinct when I set myself and my k5 on fire?? I tried water, but that was stupid, finally found a fire extinguisher in the garage, thankfully.
  4. unclematty

    unclematty 1/2 ton status

    Jan 24, 2003
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    SLC UT
    been there done that! My wife just shakes her pretty little head when she hears I'm going to be working on fuel stuff. /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif

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