Last summer, fire crews arrived to a forklift fire shooting 20-foot flames into the air at Oregon Sandblasting and Coating in Tualatin, Oregon. Reportedly, a worker was refueling the forklift when it caught on fire. The fire occurred near a large 1,000 gallon propane storage tank, which was approximately half-full. The employee was able to escape without injury and report the fire immediately. One firefighter sustained minor injuries during firefighting operations. No other injuries were reported.

Tualatin fire investigators have determined that the cause of the fire was static electricity discharge. The fire burned from the fuel tank on the forklift and a nearby propane storage tank also caught fire. However, it began to self-vent through its pressure relief valve.

We often don’t think of forklifts as being a fire hazard, but this incident is a reminder of the risks that they can represent. Forklifts are a package that combines heat sources and combustible materials together in close quarters. History shows that it does not take much to bring the heat sources and combustible materials together, leading to a costly fire that is disruptive to operations and puts personnel at risk of injury. If you’re interested in learning more about preventing forklift fires in your facility, check out this free whitepaper that highlights six tactics for the prevention of forklift fires.

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