Canadian Canoe Routes

Gas Stove Explodes -- 2 Burned
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Author:  Dave Hadfield [ September 8th, 2005, 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Gas Stove Explodes -- 2 Burned

This was posted by George Drought, a filmaker and experienced northern paddler, at the end of the "sat-phone safer?" thread.

I'm re-posting it as a new thread just to help bring it to more people's attention. It looks like you don't want the tank to get too hot with these units.

"To put things in perspective. I have decided to talk about the accident that Barbara and I had. First let me say that we have been travelling in the Barrens for 17 years now and it is inconceivable that at some time or other some sort of accicent will not occur. We have been lucky. To date in those 17 years, we have only had a sprained ankle, a broken wrist and a prolapsed disk. None of them requiring medical evacuation. But for the last 14 years we have carried a VHF Air Transciever, and the last 6 years a satellite phone. We have never considered a locator device of any sort simply because they are not precise enough with regard to giving information on conditions of weather or emergency.
To get back to our accident on the 2nd August of this year. We were involved in normal activities having a late breakfast at 10.30am. We were camped on a high point over the Back River almost precisely 40 km from Chantrey Inlet and 30 km from the Hayes River which was to be our pick up location. We were using our Tundra Tunnel (a Eureka Tunnel Vision Tent) for shelter. Coffee was brewing on an MSR Whisper Lite and about 2ft away porridge was cooking in a large Coleman Pot on an MSR Dragonfly Stove. We had the windshield in use but it was not between the stove and the tank. Right from lighting the Dragonfly it sounded as though it was burning harder than usual. Then simultaneouly I bent down to pick the coffee pot off the Whisperlite and Barbara bent down to turn the Dragonfly down. At that moment the side of the fuel tank on the Dragonfly split about 1" on the side and a ball of fire exploded into the tent. It blew two thirds of the tent away hit me full in the face and set fire to my rain jacket. I burned my hands putting my jacket out. It caught Barbara badly on her left arm, burned her right arm slighty and her thighs also slighty. Her clothing was destroyed but it saved her from worse harm. The biggest blessing was that the tent did not burn as it is, by law in Canada and the USA, made of flame retardent materials. I screamed when it happened and that saved my lungs otherwise I would prbably have inhaled the flame and burned my throat and lungs. As it was the interior of my nostrils were burned.
We were fortunate. One of our party was an Emergency Doctor. She was able to treat our wounds immediately and assess the situation. She also gave the two of us morphine injections for the pain. One other member of our party of six had his left hand burned and she treated that.
The satellite phone was then used to contact the RCMP in Baker Lake and arranged the evacuation of the two of us. Barbara because her left arm was so badly burned, and myself in case my lungs were burned. At 4.30pm a helicopter picked the two of us up and flew us to Baker Lake for further treatment. Except for Barbara's arm we are now both fully recovered.
The rest of the group paddled on to the Hayes River towing our canoe and equipment and were picked up as scheduled on 6th August.
Bill Layman is correct. If you you insist on Location Devices, ONLY use a personal one but a Satellite phone is infinitely better because it allows for sensible discussion and decision making."
Avid canoeist and filmmaker. Have been canoeing for about 50 years and filming for about 10. Have run about 50 rivers of which 10 are in the Canadian Arctic

Author:  Kim Gass [ September 8th, 2005, 11:21 am ]
Post subject: 

I think George posted later that the folks at MSR were working with them to find the root cause of the fire. The explosion could have had a number of causes. While using heat shields correctly is always wise , we really dont know now what caused this disaster.

My only 2 cents is an observation that if you use a portable over the stove oven (such as the Outback Oven) you should not be using a stove with the tank underneath (like the Coleman 442) because the tank may overheat.

Author:  maddogbob [ September 8th, 2005, 11:39 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for re-posting, Dave. I wasn't following the Sat. phone thread.

Author:  tim [ September 8th, 2005, 12:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

In MSR whisperlite stove' sinstruction manual, it is said that no larger than 9'' diameter pot should be use ...fuel bottle overheating can occur..
probably not the case here... but I'll certainly stop using huge pot for lobster and/or corn on mine...

Author:  flyrod [ September 8th, 2005, 1:55 pm ]
Post subject: 

Do the corn on the fire! Leave the husks on, strip the silk. Mmmm roasted corn is teh roxors.

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