Fairfield man burned starting generator

A Fairfield man was burned while starting a portable generator in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy Saturday, Oct. 27, at 5:55 p.m.

The Fairfield Emergency Communications Center received a call from a Mill Plain Road resident reporting that her husband had been filling their generator with gasoline when it caught fire.

Fairfield firefighters arrived at 1352 Mill Plain Road and found a man sitting in the driveway with burns to his legs and feet and a small fire on the side of the building.

Engine 1 Lt. Pat Barry, the incident commander, assigned patient care to the crew of Ladder 1 while Engine 1 extinguished the fire on the side of the building.

The fire involved a portable generator, a gasoline container, a large gasoline spill, shrubbery, and ornamental landscape, according to a report from the Fire Department.

The fire was extinguished just as it was about to spread to the side of the house, according to Asst. Chief George Gomola.

The told firefighters stated that he filled his portable generator with gasoline in preparation for the impending storm and accidentally spilled some gasoline on his feet.  When he attempted to start the generator by pulling the starter rope,  “all hell broke loose.”

Ladder 1 used burn dressings to care for the victim, who was transported to Bridgeport Hospital Burn Center by AMR ambulance with second-degree burns to both feet, Gomola said.

The Fairfield Fire Marshal’s office advises using extreme caution when filling and starting portable generators. Spilled gasoline can be ignited by hot surfaces such as the muffler or exhaust components and also by the spark created when the recoil rope is pulled.

According to the Fire Marshal:

• Always allow the generator to cool before filling.

• Wipe up and allow spilled gasoline adequate time to evaporate before the generator is started.

• Portable generators produce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas.  NEVER RUN A PORTABLE GENERATOR INDOORS.

• Carbon Monoxide detectors are strongly recommended when portable generators are used.  The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches and flu-like symptoms.

• Generators should be located away from building openings and a safe distance from combustibles.

• Generators should be operated at least 10 feet from flammable liquids and at least 5 feet from ordinary combustibles.

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