Revisiting the “explosion”

There have been some “attempts” at re-writing history, so let’s take a look at the actual words that the person wrote:

Last night while torching in my garage, with the propane tank far away from me thank goodness, I had an explosion. The hose that is attached to my hot head apparently had a leak. I have been a little stuffy so I didn’t smell the propane leaking. When the fumes hit the fire it exploded, it was like a fire ball in the face. Lukily I have great ventilation so it was a small explosion but it was enough to blow the hose off the hot head, the mandrel out of my hands, and singe the hair around my face. My face hurts a little this morning but somehow I escaped any burns to my face. I was wearing safety glasses so my eyes were protected. I really feel lucky. Now I am afraid to use the hose (I won’t be able to use the same one because when it happened the hose separated from the fitting). Is it possible I had the flame set too low and the tank turned up too high? Anyway, I bought the hose from a reliable store online, and obviously I somehow didn’t do something right but I think I am going back to small mapp tanks that I know are attached and not leaking. I am kind of embarassed this happened to me but I thought I would tell the story so it doesn’t happen to anyone else. Make sure your hoses are attached properly!!!! AND DO NOT TORCH BY THE TANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks!! I have no idea why the flame didn’t go backwards in the hose and blow up the tank. My friend asked me the same thing. The only thing I can think of is that when the explosion happened it blew the hose part off of the fitting on the hothead which was also dangerous because there was propane blowing out of the hose, luckily I acted fast and ran out and turned off the propane tank. When I write all of this I realize how lucky I am, and yes I should have been testing for leaks. The great thing about this experience is I learned a lot and only have some red spots on my face and a little bit of burned hair to show for it. I feel blessed!!! If I didn’t love this so much I would quit as of last night!!!

I’m going to pull out a couple of relevant sentences that show where the problem originated and caused the explosion:

  • The hose that is attached to my hot head apparently had a leak.
  • it was a small explosion but it was enough to blow the hose off the hot head
  • when the explosion happened it blew the hose part off of the fitting on the hothead

This is a classic failure of the crimp that holds the rubber hose to the metal threaded fitting that attaches to the torch. The fitting didn’t leak where it attached to the hose, the leak occurred because the crimp was not tight enough or strong enough to hold the hose properly on the fitting.

Remember that the hose is under high pressure – a minimum of 100 PSI, and perhaps higher depending on the ambient temperature of the surroundings. Once a leak starts, it is only a matter of time before the hose works free and blows off. Based on what the writer posted, it is my educated guess that the leaking propane was drawn up towards the lit torch and ignited causing the initial explosion. The explosion carried back to the leak itself and blew the hose the rest of the way off the crimped connector. It is sheer luck that the hose spewing propane did not ignite!

RV hoses are designed to be used OUTSIDE for this very reason. If a hose fails while attached to an OUTSIDE RV, the fumes will rapidly dissipate. When used INSIDE, there is no place for them to dissipate, and they will rapidly build up to the point of ignition.

There is no safe or legal way to attach a bulk tank to a hot head torch and use it indoors.

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