Hand held propane torch exploded in my neighborhood

"mlcorson" wrote: (clip) propane tank & torch exploded in the plumbers hand! Miraculously, no one was hurt. (clip) The people in the house across
the street from the accident said it felt like their house had lifted off the foundation for a moment. The plumbers stumbled out to the street and sprawled on

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This has some very implausible aspects. A torch exploded *in the plumbers hand,* with an violence that seemed to lift the neightbors house off the foundation; yet, the plumber was not hurt?
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Leo Lichtman wrote:

I once lived in a house that was a replacement for a structure destroyed in a natural gas explosion. The original house lifted off the foundation and dropped down again (at an angle). The owner, who had lit the stove in the kitchen, was found in the back yard, dazed but unhurt. My next door neighbor said "I _told_ Al to fix that pipe!".
Kevin Gallimore
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I subscribe to the leaky tank scenario, myself. Might be the guy thought his torch was shut off but just barely had the valve cracked, he went off to take a leak or something, came back and sparked things off. If a tank truly blew up in the guy's hand, he wouldn't have it anymore! I figure, confined space + propane + spark=KaBoom! I had any number of Coleman brand tanks leak like sieves after removing from the torch head or stove, looks like they're good for one use and that's it.
Stan
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I've never had that happen and I've been using propane torches since I was twelve. I will say I'm not a plumber so I haven't used thousands of bottles. I have seen propane torches valves leak because people would turn them off too hard. Karl
On Aug 2, 9:01 pm, snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I have had a hardware-store tank leak when separated from the torch. I smelled it more than heard it, but when I held the valve end of the tank near my ear, the hissing was obvious. I put the torch head back on the tank and it stopped it, of course. I then opened the torch valve for a send and closed it, thinking maybe it would blow a speck of dirt out of the tank valve. I then separated the torch and tank again, and it was no longer leaking. I didn't trust the thing, though, so I kept the torch on the tank.
Those Schraeder-type valves are actually awfully simple devices and may not be reliable enough given what could happen!
Jon
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On Fri, 03 Aug 2007 10:37:56 -0000, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Well, I've had too many Coleman tanks leak when removed fromthe stove/lantern/torch. I don't buy them any more unless I can't buy BernzoMatic tanks. I use them for camping equipment and the torch (when I don't use MAP for the torch - lately I've decided MAP, although more expensive, is more cost effective for torch use (you use so much less to get the job done)
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OK I kind of glossed over the brand Colman in my mind. Almost all of the tanks I've bought were Bernzomatic. I've bought maybe 3 Colman tanks. I still have some so I'll keep and eye (actually nose and ear) on them. Always good to have a heads up on something like that. Thanks Karl
On Aug 3, 5:14 pm, clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com writes:

I've only had one leak afterwards... hmm, I've always assumed the safest way to handle the tanks is to put the torch on, use it, take the torch off immediately.
Would leaving the torch mounted until the tank is empty be a better procedure? A quick look around www.npga.org doesn't turn up anything relevant.
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The instructions that come with torches of all kinds say to never leave them connected when finished using.
Bob (kiss) Swinney
writes:

I've only had one leak afterwards... hmm, I've always assumed the safest way to handle the tanks is to put the torch on, use it, take the torch off immediately.
Would leaving the torch mounted until the tank is empty be a better procedure? A quick look around www.npga.org doesn't turn up anything relevant.
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UPDATE: I just spoke with the owner's daughter. Here is the story. The plumbers were working in the basement to remove an old concrete sink. The plumber noticed the benzomatic style torch (not sure if it was the tank or tip) getting too hot. Possibly too hot to hold. He threw the tank across the basement and it blew up and started a fire. The force of the explosion blew the doors off their hinges, broke windows, etc.Firefighters said a couple more minutes and the fire would have engulfed the house. Fast action by the plumbers saved the fire from spreading. Also, one of the occupants of the house was on an oxygen tank. The plumbers got the person and the oxygen out of the house before the firefighters arrived. No one was hurt. I suspect that the plumbers will have damage to their hearing. -Mike
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Not sure that makes more sense or not.
P'raps they were going way over the torches duty cycle, the handle got too hot to hold, and when he threw it it broke the torch body, or broke the torch off the valve head?
In which case, more like a big fireball, less like an explosion, but that's splitting hairs.
Dave
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"mlcorson" wrote: UPDATE:(clip) He threw the tank across the basement and it blew up and started a fire. (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ That was pretty stupid. Why didn't he just turn it off? He threw a lighted torch across the room, causing the valve to break off, releasing the total contents of the tank in the presence of an open flame. ^^(clip) Fast action by the plumbers saved the fire from

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ So this part: "The plumbers stumbled out to the street and sprawled on the grass until the paramedics arrived," was completely false. This goes to show how easily a story can be exaggerated and distorted. Right now we are hearing conflicting reports about the Minnesota bridge that collapsed. Were there advance warnings that the bridge was unsafe? Had the bridge been recently inspected and given a clean bill? I say we have to wait for the confusion to die down to learn the facts.
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mlcorson wrote: UPDATE:

Still fishy...
Drawing propane out of the tank will make the tank colder as the liquid propane gains the heat needed to vaporize it.
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Probably to limit their culpability in case of a mishap.
Dave
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Thanks. Nice to know I've been following the recommended procedure.
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My disposable propane tanks all seem to leak down if the torch is removed from them. When I leave the torch on - a full tank stays full.
The instructions on the side of the shampoo read: lather rinse repeat.
The last word was added by the sales department.
You don't suppose Berzomatic, et al, was influenced by the Manufacturers of diaposable propane bottles, do you?
Mark (cynic) Dunning
writes:

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I've always figured that the valve in the tank was disposable, the one in the torch head isn't(or shouldn't be, given Chinese tool quality, though...). Which one would you rather trust to not leak? Although I've also seen disposable propane tanks right off the shelf that didn't have the seal right above the tank valve, those would tend to leak if kept on the torch. I generally leave the torch head attached until the tank is empty unless I'm hauling it cross-country or something like that. I also don't buy Coleman brand tanks and steer away from the big-box house-brand ones, those tend to be Chinese-made.
Stan
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writes:

I carry a "B" tank and a small propane torch on my service truck. I always leave the head screwed on the tank. Too many times I have come out to the truck in the morning and smelled propane from a leaking cylinder. With the torch head in place I have never had a propane leak. I forgot to close the valve on the B tank once. Came out in the AM hopped into the truck, and got out even faster! The truck was full of acetylene! I left the drivers door open for a while, then opened the back doors to air it out. That could have been one hell of a wake up call in the morning! Greg
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snipped-for-privacy@prolynx.com wrote:

I had disposable propane tank stick open. There was no way to stop it except to reattach the torch and let it burn out outdoors.
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What, the valve on the torch wouldn't stop it?
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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