01 September 2009

Close call

I went to work this morning, and when I walked in, I caught a whiff of that burnt plastic/ozone type aroma usually found when an electrical component blows. Figuring that a transformer blew somewhere in the shop, I didn't give it much thought until I ran into my fellow designer, who kindly pointed out to me the burnt-out wall at the back of the factory building.

Holy crap!

Yesterday one of the fabrication guys was cutting apart some old chain slings used on the paint line at the local farm implement plant. We do this so that someone doesn't take used or worn slings home to use for some project or other-never use a worn sling that someone's disposed of, kids-safety tip for today. Someone tossed it out for a reason.

Anyway, the slings had about 10mm of paint buildup on them. When our guy was done cutting the slings, he tossed them on some wooden pallets right next to the wall. I know the guy, and I'm sure he was fairly conscientious about letting the cut ends cool, but enough paint fallout and vapors built up in that pile that some stray end set the lot on fire.

We were fortunate-we'll need a section of the wall replaced, one of the welders is shot, we lost a rack of various and sundry shop supplies, but for that it could have been worse. There were some oxygen and acetylene welding tanks about three feet from the edge of the burnt-out area. I'd guess once those let go that might have been all she wrote for the building. Whew!

The owners had said that if the building had been destroyed, we'd likely be out of business. We sell speedy service to our local customers, and since we build stuff to fix safety issues, our customers couldn't wait weeks or months for us to get back on line. We should be able to get back to doing some fabricating tomorrow, though.

On such things like a few inches, or a few minutes, livelihoods hang in the balance. Amazing if you think about it. Once again, YD (and a few others) draws the Ace off the Cosmic Deck. I seem to have a knack for this. One wonders when the other shoe will drop in life-it usually does.

So. At any rate, the insurance company should cover the damage ( we'll pay for it when the next premium notice comes in, I reckon), and we should be going full speed in a few weeks.

And I'd guess from now on we'll cut up those used chain slings and toss them in a metal dumpster-and roll it away from the building when we're done!

yankeedog out.


  1. Wow, close one! If those oxy tanks had gone ......???

    The other shoe has probably dropped a heap of times but a positive attitude has seen you make the most of it.

    At a dealership I used to work at, a tech was welding up an exhaust on a Tarago. The floor got too hot and the sound deadener caught alight then the fire spread all up the back of the dash.

    It was a bastard to quote parts on as the wiring loom and all the little clips and connectors at the back of the dash had melted.

  2. That's too close for comfort YDog.Glad things came through OK.

  3. Naut-Nope, just luck. I just have an ability to keep my head down.

    I'll bet the welding tech felt terrible-our guy did-but it's a bit of a hazard of the field. And I'm surprised the car wasn't just totaled-sometimes insurance carriers get nervous when dealing with auto electronics.

    Bangar-You ain't kidding. Our 480v crane rails need replacing as well. You looking for work? And are your rates reasonable?