Heat Gun Ignites a Wash Bottle in a Fume Hood

A heat gun, which had been recently used and was hot, was set down in close proximity to a wash bottle containing methyl-tert-butyl-ether. The methyl-tert-butyl-ether, which is extremely flammable, ignited. A lab worker, who had received fire extinguisher training through DEHS, assessed the situation, immediately retrieved a fire extinguisher and extinguished the small fire.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Always remove or limit the amount of flammable liquids from your work area while working with open flames or equipment that can ignite any flammable liquids. Store these flammable liquids properly in a flammable liquids cabinet.
  2. Keep your fume hood clean, orderly and practice good chemical and laboratory hygiene. A clean work area will minimize the chance of an accident, spill or injury.
  3. Always be cognizant of the hazards of the equipment you are using and the chemicals in your work area.
  4. Contact DEHS to receive emergency training such as chemical spill training and fire extinguisher training.

If you have any questions please contact contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer at dehsafety@udel.edu or call 302-831-8475.