Crews respond to Oklahoma City storage unit fire started by household item

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma City fire crews saw a plume of smoke as they headed to a storage unit fire in south Oklahoma City on Monday night.

A tenant called in the fire.

"A gentleman stated that he had been working on a vehicle and the vehicle inside that storage unit itself was on fire,”said  Captain David Macy with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Firefighters made it inside his unit but could not get into the nearby units without sawing off the locks or cutting holes through the doors.

"The biggest amount of fire damage was contained to four units, but there were approximately 20 units that received smoke and some kind of heat damage,” Macy said.

The damage will cost around $280,000, and the fire started with a Shopvac that the tenant was using to pick up gasoline that spilled out of his fuel pump.

"Very dangerous situation, and it's one of those things we don't see very often. You think of a Shopvac as a wet/dry vac. When it says wet/dry vac, it should be limited to water,” Macy said.

The mechanisms in the vacuum mixed with the gasoline can make it explode, which happened in this case.

"Gasoline puts off a vapor that's highly flammable, and the electric motors that are in those Shopvacs create little sparks and arcs as they're turning," Macy said.

Luckily, no one was injured.

Firefighters said how you respond to a fuel spill depends on the size.

Small fuel spills typically clean themselves.

For medium spills, you can get a cleaning kit.

If it's a large fuel spill, call 911 so firefighters can take care of it.

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