Gas explosion cause of fatal shed fire in Stratford

Jim Day
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Provincial Fire Marshal Dave Rossiter is urging all Islanders to use extreme caution when using flammable liquids following a fatal shed fire in Stratford Sunday.

Gasoline fumes igniting within a small shed caused a fire that claimed the life of a Stratford man Sunday, concludes the Fire Marshal’s Office.

The exact cause is undetermined however provincial fire marshal Dave Rossiter believes it is “highly probable’’ that 59-year-old Martin McAskill was caught in a small vapor explosion while he was preparing to put a snow blower away.

Rossiter adds that McAskill was treating the snow blower’s fuel source while the unit was operational.

McAskill was pronounced dead at the scene where he was found on the ground outside the shed near his Stratford home on Aylward Drive.

Rossiter urges all Islanders to use extreme caution when using flammable liquids, especially in enclosed areas.

In recent weeks, there have been two fatalities (Summerside and Stratford) and one fire with an injury in New Perth related to flammable liquids being used within structures.

 The Fire Marshal`s Office offers the following safety tips for using flammable liquids:

● Ensure that flammable liquid containers are certified and labeled by a recognized testing agency, such as the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL/ULC). Do not store flammable liquids in glass containers. Metal containers are best, but approved plastic containers are also available.

● Regularly inspect and maintain containers and dispensing units for visible damage and wear.

 ● Store flammable liquids outside the home in a cool ventilated area, preferably in a locked, detached shed. Do not store in your home or vehicle.

 ● Make sure flammable liquids are stored and used well away from any heat source or flame. Locate operating heaters in garages high above the ground and never smoke around flammable liquids.

 ● When fueling flammable liquid equipment, fuel outdoors in a well ventilated area away from combustibles. Avoid activities that could create an electrical charge while fueling.

 ● Never fuel flammable liquid equipment when the engine is running. Cool the motor before refueling.

 ● Before starting the motor of your flammable liquid powered equipment, move the equipment at least three metres away from the fueling spot if possible. This prevents vapors from igniting.

 ● Do not use flammable liquids to accelerate campfires, solid fuel barbecues, or solid fuel stoves (unless approved by the manufacture). Flashback may occur igniting your clothing or skin.

Organizations: UL/ULC

Geographic location: Stratford, Fire Marshal, New Perth

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