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Old 03-09-2012, 09:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
"... banging two pieces of brass together can ignite propane."

I used to work with explosives; and brass fittings and tools were used in certain applications, because they didn't cause sparks. Not to say that this possibility can or should be completely ruled out, but I would suspect that either an electrical spark or open flame is the more likely cause.
It was explained to me by the teacher of the course that it is the heat that can be generated from the rough contact of the two pieces of brass and not sparks. I took him at his word as I am unwilling to test the idea in practice lest I get the desired results.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:09 AM   #16
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This could have been a huge disaster; it is for the gal from British Columbia who's vacation is shot.
I do feel sorry for this poor lady. With the destruction of her unit she was suddenly stranded far from home, in a foreign country no less, (although fortunately not very foreign) with nothing but the clothes on her back.

Hopefully, since she was in the store at the time of the accident, she had money/credit cards/ID with her. And fortunately she was at a campground surrounded by folks ready to aid a fellow RVer in distress.

We don't have this particular risk since we have a trailer and consequently LP tanks that are removed from the trailer for refilling. But the incident does give cause to contemplate the value of dividing some valuables such as cash and credit cards between trailer and tow vehicle in case one or the other is unexpectedly lost or stolen. ID is a little tougher since you generally only have one drivers license and one passport.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:20 AM   #17
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Terrible thing. Propane is darned dangerous stuff. I've had only one "incident" here, though, thankfully, no fire -- but certainly enough to scare the pants off of me.

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Old 03-09-2012, 11:54 AM   #18
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Very frightening!!!
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:07 PM   #19
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I still don't understand why motorhomes have built-in propane tanks. I hated how I had to drive the B190 somewhere every time I needed propane; it's much easier to disconnect the tank on the trailer and take it to the local gas station for a refill.
They are thought to be safer. Since the tanks don't have to be light enough to lift, they can use the heavier walled ASME-specification tanks. There is also a placement problem since portable cylinders have to be in an open-bottom cabinet. The few motorhomes I have seen with portable cylinders have used horizontal ones which have their own set of problems.

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Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Mike I was taught on my gas training course that banging two pieces of brass together can ignite propane. You mention that it exploded as he was hooking up the fill hose. I always connect the fill hose carefully so as not to bang it into the fill valve with any force. Unless he had already started to fill the tank a pilot light wouldn't have started that fire. I have no way to know for sure but it is worth mentioning so everyone makes sure another attendant is careful when connecting the fill hose nozzle. There are plenty of untrained people using this fill stations. It's also possible that he opened the bleed valve before connecting the hose.
It appears that the fire began with gas that accumulated inside the van igniting. That may have been largely unrelated to refueling, perhaps as a result of a leak in the range or cooktop plumbing, or perhaps due to a portable cylinder stored inside the van -- people sometimes do creative things to cook when they run out of gas.

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I'm guessing there are issues with making the tank portable and still having capacity... Even hauling 2-20lbers around is pretty heavy... You'd need a lot more space to have a removable tank and the room to get the tank(s) in and out.
All but the largest class As have less propane capacity than a trailer with two 40 pound tanks.
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