1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Amherst NH

    Question Can near by lightning strike touch off spilled gas?

    8/16/02 @ 1918hrs...call comes in for garage fire with man struck by lightning. First arriving units find garage fully involved with extension to the house and a male subject on the front lawn with severe burns to hands, arms, face. The subject told police and medics he was in the garage siphoning old gasoline from the tank of an emergency genarator and placing new gas in. He told them that some of the gas had spilled onto the floor...he thinks he slipped into the spilled gas as he was trying to get out of the garage, when he remembers a bright white flash and then everything was on fire. He also told them that he had not been running the generator. With severe storms occuring at the time is it possable that a close strike could have set off the spilled gas? I have yet to interview the man because he is still in ICU at the hospital. It does appear that the throttle for the generator was in the off position.

    If anybody has any ideas please email me @ emergencymgmt@grolen.com

    Last edited by InspectorK1; 08-19-2002 at 06:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Kirkwood, MO. 63122


    I would have to think that a lightning strike would have to be pretty darn near the garage to have caused that to be the source of ignition.

    I am assuming the garage door was open and if so, the fuel vapors would mix with outside air and be too lean to be ignited by a near by lightning strike.

    I would look more to another source of ignition. The bright white light he reports seeing may well have been the ignition of the fuel vapors from a yet unknown source of ignition.

    Coming from the insurance community, we have no problem spending the money to put this question to quick rest by ordering lightning strike information. However, I understand that most departments would not want to go to that cost, despite it being only $95.00 I don't know if you have ever used lightning data before? For this fire, it may not be worth the bucks; however, get a possible criminal fire being blamed on lightning or occuring during a heavy thunderstorm and it is well worth it to confirm or rule out lightning.

    I don't want to sound like an add for the company, so if you want more infor drop me a line and I will get it to you.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    F.L. CO,USA


    I dont believe the victim is going to be of much help. Contact the person that called it in. I would wager that lightning is a good possibility on this one. Step voltage can cause ignition. Large amounts of static are present when lightning strike is eminent.

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