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Old 01-21-2012
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Fire Onboard, Very Close Call!

On this past Thursday, I was working on the galley stove, rebuilding a burner. The fuel is kerosene and apparently the alchol from the preheat cup leaked from the cup bottom. I do not know if the nut was not tightened enough or if the sealing washer was defective. In any case the alc ran down the copper supply tube, onto the fuel line flex hose and melted the hose where it is attached to the copper. The alc was lit and the fire followed the tube. I noticed it immediately and turned off the tank supply safety valve at the tank, grabbed an DC extinguisher and within 5 seconds the fire appeared to be out. At the time I did not realize that the fire had melted the hose and some plastic items which were stored in the compartment behind the stove. The fire flared once again but was quickly out as I had good access to the compartment.

Based on the rapid increase of the fire from the time of discovery, turning off the valve, picking up the extinguisher, a total of less than 10 seconds, as all were right there, I estimate that within 10 more seconds I would have lost it. While I still consider Kero very safe from explosion, it burns when hot enough, especially when fuled by burning, melting, plastic.

I am now dealing with cleanup and odor. Some of the plywood was scorched inside the cabinet. No structural damage as the heat was directed up away from the hull. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

I have now removed the stove for better access and have replaced the first six feet of hose with copper. I learned a valuable lesson, and did not panic. The boat was at my dock, the only one there, behind my house, and posed no danger to others. This could have been in a marina, or at sea.
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