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Wisconsin man sets fire to garage by siphoning gasoline with vacuum cleaner


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On Sunday morning, the Janesville, Wisconsin Fire Department responded to reports of a fire in a garage at 11:00 a.m. Firefighters were able to arrive before the fire spread to the house and were able to save the residence with minimal damage.

One person was taken to hospital with burns to his hands and arms and the cause of the fire was determined to be a resident attempting to siphon gas from a vehicle using a wet vacuum cleaner /dry.

Janesville Fire Department responds to a fire on July 17, 2022
(Dave Sheen – Janesville FD)

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Firefighters from the Janesville Fire Department respond to a house fire on July 17, 2022

Firefighters from the Janesville Fire Department respond to a house fire on July 17, 2022
(Dave Sheen – Janesville FD)

A similar event occurred two days prior in Salt Lake City, and the Albany Fire Marshal issued a statement warning against this practice when a similar accident occurred in his jurisdiction.

“There’s equipment that’s sold, like at Advanced Auto, that will do the siphoning for you. It was kind of an old-fashioned shade tree that’s not recommended anymore,” said Albany Asst. Fire Chief Rubin Jordan.

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Firefighters from the Janesville Fire Department respond to a fire on July 17, 2022

Firefighters from the Janesville Fire Department respond to a fire on July 17, 2022
(Dave Sheen – Janesville FD)

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“Firefighters say not only is it a danger to your health if swallowed, but the gas can be easily ignited and cause a dangerous fire like this. You’re not going to vent all the gas and possibly spill some on the floor,” he continued. “Well, the gas vaporizes and when it vaporizes, all it has to do is bend between the lean, the two rich and the two lean. When it’s between that, it will explode.”

Wisconsin experiences 1.3 more fire deaths per 1,000 population than the national average, with 86% of those deaths from residential structures. Damage from the fire was estimated at $150,000.

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