Debris Ignites in Forwarder Pan
Clear Debris Before Performing Maintenance
While completing repairs at roadside, a contractor cut bolts off the belly pan of a forwarder with a cutting torch when debris in the pan ignited. The contractor tried to extinguish the fire with a hand-held extinguisher, but he could not access the fire. He cut off the remaining bolts to gain access, thus fuelling the fire a bit more. Once the pan was removed, three extinguishers were emptied on the fire but failed to extinguish it. The local fire department was called and dispatched. A machine operator informed the appropriate people that a fire truck was enroute and arrangements were made to plow and sand the access road. Company supervisors informed the trucking fleets that an emergency vehicle was enroute. A contractor employee was dispatched to meet the emergency vehicle to direct it to the site. By the time the fire department arrived, the fire was extinguished. The machine was extensively damaged.
Recommendations to Prevent a Recurrence
Before doing any cutting on machines, ensure the area on the machine is clear of debris. This incident clearly demonstrates the importance of clearing debris and doing such work at roadside, especially during the fire season.