Prius Caught on Fire

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by Kremtok, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    I am cognisant of that, dang it.

    I'm just thinking, if the cord is snaked out through the corner of the grill, missing the shutters, maybe it could have shifted, got back into the path of the shutters.

    One scenario that might shift the cord position: if you forget to unplug, as you back the car away from the extension something eventually gives, but the zip tie (or similar) connection of the block heater cord might get shifted an inch or two in the process, into harms way with the shutters.
     
    #21 Mendel Leisk, Jan 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  2. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    I believe (I don't have one so I could be wrong) that the 2016 uses a bolt on block heater. It heats the engine block through direct contact and indirectly that heats the coolant. I say "bolt on" because that's the most traditional type of heater this emulates. There's a hole you stick the heater in until it clicks. No freeze plug to knock out. What I found online says it's 400 watts, 3.3 amps. What gauge and length of extension cord were you using? I'm not a fire investigator and I think it's some kind of mystical black art, but from that one photo it looks to me like the extension cord caught fire. If the heater is really 400 watts and 3.3 amps then you should have been fine with an 18 gauge extension cord.
     
  3. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    16 gauge or 14 gauge would be better.
     
  4. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    Agreed, but I wouldn't expect a quality 18 gauge to catch fire at that load. Would the timer cause an increase in heat that far down the line? If the timer wasn't up to the task I would've thought the fire would start at the timer which is probably right at the outlet.... wait.... Do we know the timer was at the outlet and not on the end of the extension cord between the heater and extension cord?
     
  5. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Apparently, the timer was not (totally) damaged since they were able to determine it was turned off.
     
  6. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    No, you are not wrong at all, you are being responsible.
    Unfortunately some people jump the gun and make reports before they know the cause.

    I'd say a report should be made once the investigation has made it's findings.
     
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  7. MrMischief

    MrMischief Active Member

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    What kind of terrible advice are you giving? This is Kremtok's chance at the American dream! Not that old crummy dream of a hard work and equal opportunity will get you the house with the white picket fence. NO! I'm talking that new American dream! The one where something happens to you and you get to sue everyone involved! Lawyer up! Sue Toyota! Sue the dealer! Sue black and decker for making the cord! Sue the builder of your garage! Sue the fire department! Sue the city for having a fire department! Sue Alaska for being so damn cold you need a block heater in the first place! Someone won't want to waste the time or energy fighting you and just pay out to get you to go away! That is when you get to reap all the profits of making your lawyer rich! It's the American way! This "wait for the investigation and make a report" is commie speak for "Mother Russia can do no wrong!"
     
    #27 MrMischief, Jan 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  8. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    You are totally correct on this.
     
  9. RCO

    RCO Senior Member

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    Would it be worth informing atPriusteam?????
    He might want to give T a heads up and perhaps assist in some way. (n)
     
  10. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Paging @Prius Team Fire in hole! :eek:
     
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  11. Dragon Rider

    Dragon Rider Active Member

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    Hope you guys are fine. This can happen to any car. Hope the insurance does the right thing. My 06 Ford Focus one time we open the hood. We saw mark from burned from the fire. My mechanic told me you got lucky that it turn off by it self. This is scary for anyone.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  12. yeldogt

    yeldogt Active Member

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    I had a fire a few years ago. I was jumping my tractor's battery -- next thing I see is the tractor going up in flames. As luck would have it (bad) it was next to one of my cars. When it was all over -- three cars gone and the house ... 2 million dollar claim.

    My insurance company sent two investigators as did the local fire marshal. They all want to rule out arson .. and the insurance company wants to see if they can pinpoint a fault that could be used to re-coup some of the loss. In my case nothing was wrong with the tractor .... My best guess is the jumper cable came off and created a spark ... don't think the battery exploded.

    Good luck!
     
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  13. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Glad you survived!
     
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  14. yeldogt

    yeldogt Active Member

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    I survived .... but the claim was a nightmare. I'm still not back in the house 4+ years.
     
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  15. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Yes, possibly - if there was a fault in the unit, it could end up in an overheat (or dead short) which could start a fire. That would overload the extension cord which would melt/burn even if it was in perfect condition.

    My question though - did it trip the circuit breaker/fuse of the house.
     
    #35 alanclarkeau, Jan 6, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  16. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Might be more paranoia than truth? I've used the EBH on my Gen 3 extensively. It's plugged in as soon as they turn on the power outlet (usually -10°C IIRC). They cycle on/off as far as I know but I don't know the interval. It is plugged in at work.

    I also just used it for 2 hours continuous yesterday. I didn't check the temperature of the 3-prong plug, however.
     
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  17. Kremtok

    Kremtok Smug Alert!

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    Thank you for sharing. I don't think that's the case for me, though, as this extension cord was a new purchase around October 2016.

    Yes, that is correct about the block heater. I called the service manager today to ask him about it.

    Coincidentally, I'm quite sure the part number he gave me was wrong, though. Does 001130021300913 sound like any Toyota part number you have heard of?

    The extension cord was intact along its entire 25 foot length, right up to the melted puddle of what used to be my car, in which it is currently embedded. I really don't think it was the extension cord, but that will be for the experts to decide.

    I bought the cord knowing it would have ~400W load, and it's one of those heavy duty yellow ones with the light up end so you can find it in the dark. I'm certain the cord is rated for the normal load.

    Circuit was: Outlet > Timer > Extension Cord > Prius

    Right on. That's something that the insurance company already mentioned would happen, but I might could do the same once the investigation is complete.

    I lul'd

    Cool. Thanks for the reply!

    Wow, if we were fishing, yours would be bigger!

    Really, though, any one you walk away from, right?

    As stated above, extension cord was in good shape after the fire.

    I don't know if the circuit breaker tripped. My silly military training kicked in and I secured power at the panel, shut down ventilation, and secured the space to prepare for boundary cooling. I did ask the investigator if that was the wrong thing to do, and he said that it's not a big deal because they can figure all of that out somehow. Still and all, electricity is PFM to me so I'll leave that to them.

    /////

    Thank you all for taking the time to discuss this with me. We have the investigators coming out Monday and I'm not certain how long it will take them to determine the cause and prepare a report, but I'll continue to share here whatever they tell me. We were lucky, but if there's something that I did wrong or a defect with the car or the block heater or whatever else, I want the world to know about it so that it doesn't happen to anyone else.

    Cheers!
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    unfortunately, they'll probably tell you what the cause was, but you'll never know if they were right.
     
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  19. DGH

    DGH Thread Terminator

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    That is awful, glad no one was hurt.
    It sounds like the heater is inserted into a blind hole, the same setup as my 2006 had.
    The Toyota investigation guy determined it was corrosion on the block heater plug that caused my fire.
    I took extreme care with the stock cord, using a heavy duty pigtail which was six months old to eliminate any flex on the block heater cord.
    As bisco says, I had and still have doubts that it was corroded, nothing was left to look at. I also have one on a 2012v but I no longer use it.


    Best of luck on the recovery process. prius fire sale.jpg
     
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  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    What's with those firemen? The donuts just arrived?
     
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