Workshop fire

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by jjs2000 posted 01-08-2014 04:56 PM 1501 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jjs2000's profile


2 posts in 1837 days

01-08-2014 04:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: fire soot insurance

Well, 2013 almost ended with a big bang. While working in my shop, I heard a loud whoosh and found myself standing in two foot high flames. Luckily, after a quick dash out of the shop and I wasn’t on fire. I was using a floor standing kerosine heater and I’m pretty sure there was a leak in the fuel can that ignited the vapors. The bad news is that the fire continued in my shop for about 20 minutes until the fireman arrived and put out the fire. I’m battling with the insurance company on replacement of my tools. Most of the tools are Delta (Unisaw, drill press, 14 inch band saw, lathe…). They are saying the tools can handle the high temperature and exposure to a ton of soot. And, they will only pay to have a repairman come out to clean it up, replace belts and electrical cords. I’m mostly concerned with the 52 inch Unisaw and the band saw. It was so hot that the beefy on/off switch warped and there is allot of black soot on the case. So, after this long explanation my basic question is it sufficient to just have the tools cleaned and cords/belts replaced?

19 replies so far

View 49er's profile


171 posts in 1840 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 05:18 PM

I can’t comment on the condition of your machines. But I will say I am so sorry for your bad luck.

-- Correlation is not causation but I did loose my Doctor !!!

View bigblockyeti's profile


5314 posts in 1956 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 05:29 PM

Sorry to hear about your misfortune. Cleaning, belt and cord replacement would not be sufficient to bring the tools back into previous condition. You have lots of cast iron surfaces, some of which may have been properly stress relieved that could be warped and WILL be more prone to cracking in the future. Your insurance company is stating false fact regarding your tools ability to handle high heat, the last time they were subject to extreme heat is when they were being cast. Do not accept this as acceptable from your insurance company.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View DIYaholic's profile


19739 posts in 2911 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 05:33 PM

First off, glad no one was hurt and sorry for your misfortune!

No expert opinion here, but….
I can see the machines being rehabbed into working order, but proper alignment/calibration could be an issue. My concern would be warping, twisting of beds, tables and frames. If tables are no longer flat, they could be machined flat. I don’t know about straightening, say the frame on a band saw, to maintain/get the wheels co-planer. This may also apply to the trunnions, on both the unisaw and band saw. I would think as a safety concern, replacement is what should be fought for!!!

I hope that everything gets squared away, relatively quickly and painlessly!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1866 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 05:41 PM

Sorry for your misfortune.

That is BS from your insuarnce company and you should not accept it. That is where they make their money, screwing people out of insurance. (quote by Bill Maher by the way) From my experience, you just have to keep fighting with them and keep all of your questions and (dis)agreements in writing by e-mail. Do not accept anything over the phone.

I would also contact the producers of your tools and give them a call or go to their place and talk to them. Then have them make a statement in writing that after exposure to that kind of heat, they do not guarantee that the tools will be in as good working condition as before the fire.

So basically, don’t take no for an answer, they will try to bully and scare you into doing what they want, but in the end, you can and should fight for what is yours and in most cases you will get it. You just need to keep the discussion in writing so that they can’t come back and turn around on you.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2274 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 05:56 PM

Glad to hear you’re OK, but that really sucks about the tools/insurance. If you’re allowed to, please tell us who the insurance company is. (If it’s the same one I have then I know I need to find a new one today).

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5314 posts in 1956 days

#6 posted 01-08-2014 05:56 PM

That last post reminded me of the three D’s of insurance: Delay, Deny, Defend.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View jjs2000's profile


2 posts in 1837 days

#7 posted 01-09-2014 01:28 AM

Thanks for all the responses! I’m still working with the insurance company to get the tools replaced insead of serviced. They seem to be changing their attitude a little and are looking at the list I prepared defining the replacement costs. I’ll let everyone know what finally happens when we get to the settlement.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3911 days

#8 posted 01-09-2014 01:37 AM

What made them change their mind?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View oldnovice's profile


7379 posts in 3603 days

#9 posted 01-09-2014 01:38 AM

At least you are around to even negotiate with the insurance company … it could be someone else talking to a life or accident insurance company! You were lucky!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View AandCstyle's profile


3184 posts in 2493 days

#10 posted 01-09-2014 01:43 AM

No doubt your insurance company is represented by the law firm, Dewey, Cheatem and Howe.

Seriously, the adjuster works for the insurance company and will do everything possible to reduce the amount of your claim. I suspect adjusters are paid on a kind of reverse commission scale-you claim $100 and they get you down to $50, so they can pocket $25. They say that after a major event in your life (divorce, death, etc.) to not make any significant decisions. I don’t know where this falls in the continuum, but proceed cautiously and get your own lawyer if you think you are being railroaded.

The important thing is that you are okay. Everything else can be replaced.

-- Art

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3205 days

#11 posted 01-09-2014 02:01 AM

Glad you got out ok, sorry about your shop.
How about emailing the service departments of your tool manufacturers and getting their opinions in writing as too whether your insurers proposals are sufficient. I personally wouldn’t be happy with reconditionef fire damaged machinery.

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 1963 days

#12 posted 01-09-2014 02:09 AM

I think the heat would damage all the bearings too. I wouldn’t be happy with repairing tools. Unforeseen problems could happen to the equipment down the road because of the heat and you would be stuck fixing it.
Might want to talk to an attorney if they don’t want to replace them.
Where was your fire extinguisher???

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 2175 days

#13 posted 01-09-2014 03:08 PM

If they think they can repair cheaper than replace, I think the guy is on glue. If they want to take the old stuff and repair and resell, well that is there call.

Document it all well and don’t settle until you are happy.

I did a similar thing outside draining a boat gas tank. I did the stop drop and roll. My nephew’s (9) eyes just fell out of his head. Not a lot of hair on my arms and legs, huge bruise on my hip were I hit. But all in all could have been way worse. Minimal damage to the boat.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3468 days

#14 posted 01-09-2014 03:29 PM

Your insurance company is full of Barbara Streisand… NO it is far from sufficient! Cleaning, lubing, and replacing cords and belts is only part of it. Things like switches, blade guards, dust hoods, armatures etc… get easily damaged by high heat.

Any nylon, plastic, basically non metal parts should be replaced. Yes they can quite likely rebuild the tools for less than replacement cost. Assuming things like paint etc… aren’t damaged that is…

Having said that, my table saw went through a shop fire with the previous owner. I got it on the cheap and replaced all the plastics, cleaned up the metal and have been happy as a clam with it since. I knew the issues that would be involved when I got it and let me tell you where I have been with it so far…

Table saw Ryobi BT3100-1. A far cry from your Unisaw… Purchase price too low to mention here. It was inexpensive to the extreme…
Things damaged in the fire and replaced. #1. Belts. #2. Switch. #3 wiring between switch and motor, and power cord. #4. Fence handle. #5. Nylon fence glides. #6. Fence position indicator window. #7. Elevation / tilt handle. This was broken by something hitting it, not heat damaged.

Things inspected and no damage found. #1. All metal parts and pieces. #2. All plastic / nylon parts in the motor / blade adjustment mechanisms. Both tilt and elevation. #3. All parts including metal / plastic / resin / etc… in the motor assembly. #4. Mobile base.

The fire was along a wall by a trash can that the fence was hanging on. The power cord was plugged in and damaged, the switch was a Ryobi factory recall issue. Belts were changed due to either heat exposure, or just age as they were cracked and dried up..

I have since had one failure of the table saw fence, which I do not attribute to the fire, although it is possible. I dropped the fence on the concrete floor and managed to break the head T bar piece. I replaced that, and got it well adjusted and all is well again…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Woodmaster1's profile


1089 posts in 2823 days

#15 posted 01-09-2014 04:00 PM

When you get estimates they will find that parts and labor will be more than new machines.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics