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What happened here?

T1263
T1263 Member Posts: 36

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,346
    Boiler was dry-fired, as in, operated without water in it?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    bucksnort
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 80
    Looks like it blew it's nuts.
    SuperTech
  • ch4man
    ch4man Member Posts: 239
    firebox insulation fell, just didn't cover enough of the burners to shut itself down and it burned itself up.
    Burnhan series 3 (I forget the model, residential sized) current model, to back 5-7 years have had this issue enough that Burnham has issued a service bulletin and they'll pay parts and a labor allowance
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,590
    Looking at that picture the first thing that came to mind is that the house caught on fire and someone decided not to change out the boiler after other repairs were made. I doubt that is actually the case, is there any other pictures of the boiler available?
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    thank you all for your responses! There was indeed a fire in the house. Thankfully the fireproof door did its job so it was contained and extinguished quickly. We’re trying to understand how it happened as it seemed sudden. The boiler is in tact and clean inside.
    SuperTech
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36

  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    Is there some sort of insulation on that piece that could have melted?
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,472
    I'd be willing to bet the boiler did not have any water in it.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    ethicalpaul
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    Anything here give any more clues?:
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,346
    Only other thing I can think of is someone may have been storing gasoline or some other flammable substance in that basement, it produced flammable vapors, and the boiler came on and lit them off. This is why gas water heaters now have to have Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) systems built in- in other words, they have to be stupid-proof.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,693
    If it was dry fired, wouldn't the lack of heat be noticeable?

    There has to be a background story here that is missing. Is stuff around it on the floor burned or just the boiler? Was anyone there when it happened?
    MaxMercy
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,816
    Lack of combustion air, then all of a sudden, a lot of combustion air?
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 632
    All those damaged parts are plastic. It could have gotten pretty hot in the boiler room if the house was on fire, so the plastic parts melted. The fireproofing can stop the fire for awhile, but the heat can get pretty intense as it builds up.
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  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    The fire was only in the boiler room.
    Only those specific places on the boiler were burned/ singed. There was fire in the room so some things melted and ignited but very little
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    Nothing flammable stored there
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,693
    Is there currently water in the boiler?

    was it heating just prior to this?

    i suppose there could have been some sort of rollout event or gas leak inside the boiler
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,346
    I'm assuming the fire department's investigators will be looking into this. Please post the results.

    Perhaps the most important question: Was anyone hurt?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,339
    Judging by the fact that the solder boiled out of the joint above the pump, I’d say either a run away or dry fired boiler.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    mattmia2
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    Thank you. It was out very quickly.
    the smoke was very sudden but the fire department was very quick. 
    @ironman- what’s a run away?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,602
    @Ironman

    I noticed the solder as well 500-550 degrees. It's a wonder there is any house left standing
    STEVEusaPA
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    How come only that piece is charred and nothing around it? Everything near it is very clean
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,339
    T1263 said:

    Thank you. It was out very quickly.
    the smoke was very sudden but the fire department was very quick. 

    @ironman- what’s a run away?
    Run away boiler: one that doesn't shut off. Like a stuck throttle on a car.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Alan Welch
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,693
    So this was heating the house up until some moments before it caught fire right?

    Either the pump and the limit fails or more likely the gas valve sticks open.
    The non-circulating water in the boiler continues to heat until it boils.
    The boiling water opens the relief valve and releases superheated water.
    The prv doesn't open and bring in water to cool things down because the pressure is already over its setpoint.
    After some boiling water is released the relief valve closes momentarily, boiler continues to heat the remaining water until the pressure increases and blows off the relief valve again.
    This repeats until all the water boils out of the boiler.
    Now all the heat from the burner starts cooking the dry boiler and casing and the things in and near the boiler start getting hot enough to burn.
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    thank you all. 
    Glad all ok.
    just was trying to understand what happened because there didn’t seem to be any smell of anything burning a little while before.
    is this fixable? 
  • Eric_32
    Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
    Did the boiler room have enough combustion air? What size room was this? Was there a door or grills cut into the wall for combustion air? You can see metal studs close to the boiler. A plugged up boiler with flame roll out due to insufficient combustion air?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,816
    Was the Fire Marshal on vacation? That is their job.
    Combustion air looks like it might be an issue. That was an enclosed little room right?
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 1,851
    edited February 20
    Fire insurance (homeowners insurance) should cover the damage to the boiler, as long as you have properly maintained the boiler and did not violate any building code requirements when the boiler room was enclosed. Your insurance adjuster will know what is covered. Remember... the one the insurance company sends works for them. You may want to hire a public adjuster that represents your interest if you are not satisfied with the insurance company's decision.

    Yours Truly,
    Mr.Ed
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
  • T1263
    T1263 Member Posts: 36
    thank you
    yes it was a small room with a fire door.
    no grill. But there’s air in there I believe
    AC ducts go out 
    could be I’m not describing well enough
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 1,851
    edited February 21
    You have what is called a confined space. if your basement was not finished and the full length of the house with an 8 ft ceiling, and the basement door had a louver in the top and the bottom panels, then you may have an unconfined space. This means there is sufficient air for combustion. a confined space means there is not sufficient air for combustion. An air condition duct does not count when calculating combustion air. (mostly because the air conditioner is not operating when the heater is operating.)

    Think about it, the air for the flame has an exhaust pipe going up a chimney or metal vent thru the roof. Where is all that air coming from?

    Here is a little article that will help you understand combustion air and confined spaces.
    https://www.pct.edu/files/imported/business/nssc/docs/articles/CAZ_Zone_and_Code.pdf
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,693
    As @Ironman pointed out, the solder melted out of that adapter at the circulator and that coupld only happen if there was no water in the pipe, so it wasn't a rollout issue, most likely the controls failed and boiled all of the water out of the boiler although it is also possible it leaked out somewhere and whatever the lwco device is failed.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,195
    There is a hi limit manual reset on the supply outlet, but it is on a 12" or so branch off of a tee.
    One wonders if it were closer to the riser IF it may have opened, even without water.

    Unit maybe too old to have flame rollout fuse or plugged flue limit.

    But, even if all of these limits opened the gas valve may have been stuck open....
    turned it into a steamer.....
    One wonders if the water supply valve was open.
    Probably no LWCO.

    It would be very interesting to see the forensic report on all this.

  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 979
    How about proper pump installation! For over 20 years, I have implemented a standard: 5 dimensions of straight pipe before and after a pump. ASHRAE say 5 to 10. Plumbers can remember 5 and 5. Otherwise, you can have cavitation.
  • dcbraley
    dcbraley Member Posts: 15
    Fire looks like something combustible stored next to the boiler. The rust spot below the circulator looks like the area of most heat damage, theres really nothing inside the boiler to burn. Possibly the boiler fires, the material ignites from conducted or radiated heat or a liquid can has developed a leak and vapors ignite. The fire grows and melts the automatic vent damper, possibly killing the call for heat as the fire runs out of fuel to burn.
    mattmia2
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