Man, it's been a bad year for BD fires...
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
By Nick Christensen
The Hillsboro Argus
Four Forest Grove residents barely escaped an explosive blaze, fueled by a home-brew of biodiesel, that caused more than $250,000 in damages Thursday night.
Forest Grove firefighters were called to a house on the 3300 block of Valley Crest Way just before 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The home's occupant was cooking dinner when she smelled smoke and discovered it was coming from heating vents. When the occupant went to the garage, she found flames.
She then rushed from the home with her three children and called 911. Neighbors, hearing large explosions, also called firefighters. A male occupant of the home was at work at the time of the blaze.
When crews from Forest Grove Fire and Rescue arrived, they saw flames pouring from the garage and from second-story windows. Their efforts were hampered by the biodiesel manufacturing operation, which used vegetable oil and a chemical to manufacture the fuel at home.
Forest Grove Fire Inspector Dave Nemeyer said about 170 gallons of vegetable oil, and another 10 gallons of methanol, were in the garage at the time.
"But he had potentially seven drums of methanol that were just empty," Nemeyer said.
It took 40 firefighters, including units from the Cornelius, Banks, Hillsboro, Gaston, Tualatin Valley and Washington County fire departments, about two hours to extinguish the blaze.
Damage was preliminarily estimated at $280,000.
Nemeyer said he doesn't think there's anything in the Forest Grove fire code preventing homeowners from making their own biodiesel at home.
But, he said, people should consider what their insurance policies cover before starting a project like a home biodiesel refinery.
40 Firefighters from 7 stations 2 hours to put out 1 Double story house fire????
What were they fighting the fire with?
Wet Blankets?? Were they passing buckets in a line from the next block???
After 2 hours I think the house would have gone out itself from having burnt all the available fuel.
Even if there was a full tote of oil ( which there wasn't) I can't possibly see how it would take that long to put the fire out. They could have pumped that much water on the place in that time it would have been washed away.
I have seen a couple of house fires up close and I just can't imagine how it would take that kind of resources that long to put out one single house, oil or not.
DCS, do you know anything about fighting fire? I've definitely heard of small fires requiring large units before.
Also, 7 "empty" drums of methanol = far bigger danger, in some ways, than 1 full drum.
Yokayo Biofuels Facebook page
fueling / R \ evolution since 2001
I was a firefighter for 15 years and there are many factors witch we don’t have. Type of building construction, square footage of the house, location of water source, time of day, staffing of equipment and location of nearby fire stations, weather conditions and there are more factors that I could list just listed the top 7. Without all the facts we don’t know so lets note assume.
Thank God for Insurance....
Someone saves a few thousand in fuel purchases....
And, burns down a $280,000 house which someone else will pay for. Well, we all pay for it through our insurance rates. Will the insurance companies get wise and start adding Biodiesel clauses into the policies?
So, now I have to decide where to locate my future BD brewery....
Is the Pope Catholic?
Insurance is a widly profitable business, otherwise they wouldn't be in it. And the rates are absurd given the number of claims paid out.
Care to post some data to back up this claim? (no pun intended )
I saw an article the other day that said that health insurance profit margins are less than tupperware
Pure logic will have to suffice - I run my business because it's profitable, it suits my need for income at a level I'm comfortable with. Do you think the insurance companies are running their businesses out of altruism? Pfft.
Yes their margin is about 3.5% but their throughput on said margin is astronomical when insurance is mandated by our governments and industry, by force. It's that whole "economies of scale" thingie.
Luckily here in Canada we dont have to worry about health insurance... Home and auto is bad enough, its legalized extortion...
They keep claiming that they are losing money and need to increase premiums... Ya right!
Sounds like hard times to me eh!
Yeah, they will always spin the numbers to justify themselves and make it seem like people should be throwing more of their money at them. I bet they didn't actually specify what that their poor, hard done by meager profit margin added up to in real Dollars though did they?
The sympathy factor probably wouldn't be a lot when people heard profits in the millions.
Tupperware was a clever comparison as well. Sounds unimpressive but I'll bet their profits are right up there given their business model and relatively few companies would have higher margins on over all sales values.
Check out what Major retailers profit margins are. Here they are usually less than 1% and I imagine the same is true in most parts of the world.
The thing is though, if your turning several hundred Million a year in sales, then your bottom line is still pretty substantial. last
If you want to see just how much money they do make, look up the figures in their last annual report. That's where they have to spill the beans and the people they are reporting to want to hear something positive instead of being told how hard the company is doing it.
The story the shareholders get and the story the media and public get are 2 very different ones.
If insurance companies start to find they are loosing money, they will be lobbying governmint and councils etc to put provisions or ban Bio production. The minute someone gets hurt or killed and it makes the news ( especially if a kid is involved) you can bet the whole thing will be put under a microscope and all these fire reports are going to be used to make things much harder than they are now.
Already statistics would be being compiled that anyalise the cause and number of fires and I bet the numbers in the US for Bio related would be significant already.
Once something pops up on the radar that they don't have any ruling on or haven't seen before, you can bet it will come in for special attention just so the relevant authorities can protect their own backsides in being able to be seen to have tried to do something when the inevitable disaster happens that makes the national 6 pm news.
1 person Killed in a fire caused by home brew Bio is going to change the state of play permanently.
Good point on the Tupperware! That stuff costs a fortune and they have very little overhead...
Yep, and you bet insurance conpany's wont worry themselves with any details they will just arbitrarily ban it. Like they have done here to residential aluminum wiring, knob and tube wiring, HHO tanks older then 10 years old, etc...
I saw a 90+ year old widow who still had the wherewithal to live on her own forced into a home because her insurance company found out that her home was wired with knob and tube and claimed it must be removed. This would mean rewiring the entire ancient house, a huge undertaking that she could not afford... I assessed the wiring and wrote a letter to her insurance company assuring them that everything was intact and there was NO risk of fire and they didnt even care to read it. She had the same result with the rest of the company's around and could not get it insured...
It made me sick to my stomach!
Why not just drop the insurance company? If you own your house then you can shop around for insurance that meets your needs at an affordable price. Either do without insurance or go see an independent broker.
We can be sure that hungry/greedy insurance companies will simply place an additional rider on all policies making the fire insurance null and void if you are making biodiesel unless you have the biodiesel part specifically insured with another policy.
Ya she shopped around. I am sure she could have stuck it out if she really had wanted to but thats not the point. There aren't any insurance company's in this area that don't do a home inspection as far as I know. Hell my wife is a broker and we had some trouble when we bought this house a few years back due to an old unused and empty bulk tank for an old disconnected oil furnace in the shop. They wouldn't give me insurance unless I removed the tank, even signing a letter removing them from liability wouldn't suffice... What a bunch of BS. I had no choice to go uninsured due to the conditions of my mortgage of course.
I am going to have to ask my health insurance agent if my policy covers my house in case of a fire.
Or did somebody stray off course here?
Before you call your insurance company for anything, you should read up on the C.L.U.E. database the insurance companies keep. Every call you make is logged into it and effects your insure-ability.
Also you gotta know that insurance companies were hit really hard with this recession. They collect premiums to fund a slush fund that is used to pay out claims. When the stock market tanked, so did their ability to pay out claims. A few percent wouldn't be an issue, but we had something like a 30-40% reduction.
Yep, even when your shopping around they know who else you have been talking too, including if you have been turned down by another company. I call it collusion they call it security or something like that...
Sounds like big brother is very active in the land of the Free!
How do they know who is calling? Do they make you give personally identifiable details?
I think here that would be against our privacy laws. They could ask but you would be under no obligation to give any details and if they insisted or wouldn't give you the info, that would be a breach of the law and would be something that could be used very strongly against them if they did knock back a claim.
Here you can ring and ask anything without having to identify yourself and we're labeled as the convicts!
If you fill out an application for finance, that is recorded and all things to do with that but making a simple inquiry as to what is and isn't covered in an insurance policy...... Wow!
Most times they insist that you read all the fine print of the inclusions and exclusions and they post these things on their websites.
Seems pretty draconian to have an inquiry held against you which would be the only reason they go to the trouble of logging it all in the first place.
As my retired Uncle says who was an assessor for 30 years, the first thing an insurance company does when you make a claim is look for a way of getting out of paying it.
I just spoke to my wife and I was mistaken. Its only on auto insurance when they pull you drivers licence file that they can see who else pulled the report and how many times. There is no record for the home insurance.
Well, I'm not convinced that the new Obama program won't be additional MANDATED Extortion.
As far as homeowner's insurance. I'd encourage just reading the fine print and not asking any questions.
The reality is that all insurance is risk based. If the insurance companies could figure out a new risk category for homebrew BD... you can bet they would start putting it in.
There was something about chemicals in the house in my home purchase agreement... but, then, what about the stuff under the sink.
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