This incident might be useful as an educational item, in what not to do. From Kawartha Lakes This Week newspaper, Ontario Canada

Man severely burned in flash fire
Jan 14, 2005

An Algonquin Road man suffered second and third-degree burns to his hands after the cleaning fluid he was using caused a flash fire Wednesday morning.

John Crouter, 29, was cleaning auto parts in a camper trailer in his backyard when the fire started.

Kawartha Lakes Fire Chief Dave Guilbault said Mr. Crouter was heating Varsol in a container on a small stove in the trailer when the chemical burst into flames.

"He was using the Varsol to clean auto parts; heating it on a stove when it ignited, causing a flash fire," said the chief.

"He tried to grab the container and suffered what looks to be second and third-degree burns to his hands. Fortunately, it didn't burn his face."

The chief said the fire destroyed the trailer and spread to another parked alongside it on the property, causing an estimated $12,000 in damage, but the first priority for the firefighters was to attend Mr. Crouter's injuries.

"Taking care of his injuries was the first priority; then the fire was extinguished."

Mr. Crouter's father, Bill, said his son came running into the house calling for help.

"I'm not sure what he was doing out there; I didn't see it happen," he said.

"I didn't know anything was wrong until he came running into the house and we called for help."

Chief Guilbault said Mr. Crouter, who was taken to hospital in Port Perry after the accident, was later transferred to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. He added the accident could have been a lot worse and warned that people using cleaning fluids or other chemicals must be vigilant about using them near heat sources.

"People have to remember that not only the chemicals themselves but the fumes are often highly flammable," he said.

"If they aren't used in a properly-ventilated area they can ignite very quickly, sometimes with fatal consequences. Not only can they burn, but they can also explode. Any product that gives off vapours should be used with lots of ventilation and away from any heat source."