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Diamondhead Mikado Fire Update

2925 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Jerry McColgan
For those who saw or heard of my Aristo-Craft Mikado turning into a flaming torch at Diamondhead I can finally give you an update.

After butane overflow from refilling my Mike was ignited by a passing loco and the fire was put out I simply put the Mikado back into its case and left it there until this Tuesday. I never did bother to look at it after the fire because I was not sure that I wanted to see what it looked like or to find out if it still ran.

This was not a minor flare up. The flames encompassed both the loco and the tender and it  took a LONG time for  them to go out. My eyebrows and hair were singed.

OK so it's been over 3 months but by comparison last year I did not run the Mike for almost a year after Diamondhead. Live steam is still just an occasional itch for me to scratch once or twice a year.

A friend has been wanting to see the Mike run so Tuesday I took it out of the box, looked it over (no visible damage at all), put it on the track and fired it up.

It ran every bit as well as ever.

Lewis - you gave us a pretty darn good locomotive for a great price.

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Hi Steve,

Perhaps next year. We will probably be back then. Obviously I need some adult supervision. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif


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It was an alcohol fired loco that ignited my fire as well.


Posted By steamtom1 on 03/28/2008 1:14 PM

Tom Toth drove by with an alcohol fired locomotive.  Not only did we have a gigantic flash, but I still didn't realize the gas valve was open, and couldn't understand why the fire wouldn't go out.
I may invest in a small CO2 fire extinguisher and have it handy in the future. I don't know what messy residue might be left from a chemical fire extinguisher.

I am sure that there was a fire extinguisher somewhere nearby at Diamondhead but when there is a fire the focus tends to be on the fire and not on walking away from the fire to look for and retrieve a fire extinguisher.

It just occurred to me this morning that my last run of the Mike ended with a phone call causing me to tell a friend to blow out the fire. I was pretty much done running for the day so I did not give it another thought and after the phone call I picked up the loco and put it back in the box inside the house. What occurred to me is that I never shut the gas off so it will have emptied inside the bedroom downstairs.

Also downstairs (fortunately not nearby) there is a propane water heater.

A friend's wife's son (prior marriage) was burned to death when a propane heater ignited the gas fumes as he was using gas to clean motorcycle parts.

There is a certain amount of danger involved when we play with flammables.


Posted By Shay Gear Head on 03/29/2008 5:26 AM
Ah - and a grand fire it was.  We also found that water was not a good weapon against a gas fire. Maybe we should think about having regular fire extinguishers at all our steamups as there are so many butane fired locomotives!
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Hi Jerry,

I hope I was clear in that in no way were my comments intended to be critical of the Diamondhead activity.

They are just comments about someone (me) doing things I should have known not to do.



Posted By wetrail on 03/31/2008 2:29 PM
It must have been a sight to behold , but certainly not a unique situation. At Diamondhead the fire extinguishers are spotted around all tracks and the program safety page urges all steamers to be aware of their location. Water bottles for alcohol fires are at each track as well , and the number of times that they are used is significant. A fire blanket is also placed in the center of the large track in the event that things look as if they might be out of control. It all lends to the charm of the hobby - a pastime that is expensive,challenging , and somewhat dangerous.
Jerry Reshew
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