Exploding Portable Stoves??

Submitted: Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 18:46
ThreadID: 54235 Views:7378 Replies:19 FollowUps:7
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Hi guys,

I'm sure that most of us have one of these - cheap, easy to use, small etc - but has anyone had issues like the below??

An extract from an email from a mate of mine.. (pics at bottom)


I know this would be a 1 in a million occurrence but allow me to explain...

On Sat night, I took my daughters and two friends/babysitters (Carmen and
Yo) out for a night camping in Brindabella Valley...

We got there at 4, were fully set up by 5 and fire going by a bit after 6.
I was sorting the camp, collecting fire wood while Yo and Carmen looked after the girls. Anyways, at about 6.30ish, they volunteered to cook tea while I played with Ruby and Matilda.

As with how ivan and I cooked for a good few hours in the creek in Bendethra, I put the Gasmate cooker on the aluminium table with a pan on it too cook the sausages/chops.

After cooking for a while, I could smell what seemed to be burning plastic, I went over to the cooker, ruby and matilda standing beside me, lifted the pan, saw the front of the cooker warped and moved the pan off to one side
(still on the cooker) to let the heat escape. Seconds later there was a
fairly big bang as the cooker exploded, I grabbed ruby and Matilda who were about eye height to the table, Carmen jumped backward as the flash went around her and Yo let out a scream and bolted.

Once ruby and Matilda were clear of the potential danger I chased Yo (Carmen was fine) to see blood streaming down her arm. A piece of flying metal had caught her in the crook of her left elbow and gashed it. She went into mild shock, threw up and nearly fainted, but with the aid of the trusty St John's first aid kit, we washed, checked and stemmed the bleeding with a pressure bandage.

While Ruby fanned Yo with a tea towel to keep her cool (ruby was an absolute legend during all this - matildas was happy eating chips in her car seat), Carmen and I packed the tents, put everything back in/on my car and we headed back into Canberra, arriving about 10.30pm. Carmen stayed and looked after the girls and I took Yo to the hosp.

FINALLY.... at 5.30am this morning, they put three sticthes in Yo's arm.
The bleeding had stopped and the wound was clean but they were more concerned with reducing scarring.

The cooker was set up properly and used, as I said at the start, in the exact same way (less standing balls deep in a river), as Ivan and I had used his the week earlier...

All I can say is whilst Yo was unlucky, thank f*ck we were lucky enough that the blast went up from the table over Ruby and matildaa... (oh and that Carmen and I weren't hit either) I would hate to start down that little imagination path...

Has anyone heard of anything like this?

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Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 18:55

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 18:55
Whooska!!! :-)
AnswerID: 285591

Reply By: 75Troopy - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 18:59

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 18:59
Ivan I am so glad to hear you and the family are ok other than a few stitches.

Very very very lucky...

AnswerID: 285593

Reply By: Chris & Debbie - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:10

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:10
I wonder what size and the postion of the pan was on top of the stove, as I can only see this happening if the pan is positioned over the gas bottle.
lucky no one was seriously hurt though.
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AnswerID: 285597

Reply By: Member - Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:11

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:11

Glad the situation wasn't any worse!

What was the ambient temp? I've found them to be pretty finicky due to ambient temp - but mainly winter temps in the High Country.

Did you have the 'trivet' upright? I've seen similar stoves used without flipping the trivet - a major cause of over-heating.

How much gas was in the cylinder - full/almost empty.

AnswerID: 285598

Follow Up By: Stephen M (NSW) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:14

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:14
Hi there Tim not sure if they are all the same basically I suppose but ours will not light if the trivet is not up the right way. Maybe not all the same ?? Regards Steve M
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Follow Up By: Member - Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:20

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:20
G'day Steve,

I agree - Mine will light but a pot put on it smotheres the flame. But I was on a search with work and saw this happen (upside down trivet) It didn't smell to good - melting plastic/gas so I grabbed it with gloves on, melted them, and threw the trivet in the snow - IMHO it was a LOT hotter than if used correctly.

Just thinking that if the person persisted the gas cylinder would have been heated to a extreme temp.

FollowupID: 550587

Reply By: Ozboc - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:11

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:11
yup , i had one of these explode on me also - the main butane can just missed one of my friends by MM's he said it was like a bullet going past his head -- and the stove looked very much like the one in the pictures

ever since then i have never used one again - nor will i allow anyone close to me ( ie camping with me) t0 to use one ...

none of us was hurt except for ringing ears - but it could have been much worse as we were all about 5 meters away from it when it went off ...

AnswerID: 285600

Reply By: Stephen M (NSW) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:12

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:12
Very lucky and glad your daughter is ok bar few stiches which can still be very traumatising for a young child. While we havnt had one blow up we have had the table it was sitting on go up in flames. Put the billy on to boil up when I could smell some thing burning, turned to see flames coming out from under cooker and table with flames coming off it. Quickly turned it off and pushed cooker off table. Couldnt save table. Now it was only a billy and had plenty of room around it to breath and was set up properly. I am now very weary when I use it but porblem is there so bloody handy. There is so many of them around and different brands I wonder if there is any regulations on them. Going by the pics of yours you use the same cannister that I use. Obvioulsy heat had some thing to do with it. Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 285601

Reply By: Member - peter C (VIC) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:15

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:15
i wonder whether heat was transferred to the gas cylinder via the aluminium strips on the table? imy fishing club had warned us not to use these in our boats as apparently there have been a number of fires attributed to these. i still have one of thes [and about a dozen cylinders ]but have not used since mine caught fire whilst cooking and yes the cylinder was installed correctly peter
AnswerID: 285602

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:25

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:25
Gday Ivan,
Sobering story. Heres a link:
Thread 43196
AnswerID: 285605

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:25

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 19:25
Hi Ivan

I posted a similar post 2-3 years ago as a result of one going up in the camp next to us and the container landing next to us.

At the time It was the first I had heard of this , but now there have been a few reported such cases.

In my opinion the cannister is to enclosed and insufficent air circulates resulting in the container being to hot in summer and to cold in winter.

I still use one though (with adequate ventilation)
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 285607

Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:05

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:05
"I'm sure that most of us have one of these - cheap, easy to use, small etc" MADE IN CHINA no doubt.

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AnswerID: 285620

Follow Up By: Grungle - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:20

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:20
Yep, one went up in the camp next to ours on the Australia Day long weekend. We were having some pav when there was an almighty bang. Lady was cooking on one and without warning, it exploded. She was pretty shocked and her camp mates checked her over but there was no injuries.

Don't know what brand but I am pretty close to throwing ours in the bin (not that we use it much anyway). We have young kids and I won't be taking the chance.

I wonder if it is a bad batch of gas cylinders?

FollowupID: 550616

Reply By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:20

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:20
G'day Ivan,

for whatever reasons, I have never wanted to have one of these in my camp and have never trusted them either.

in hindsight, have you been able to go over the safety instructions and you are confident you did not breach any of them?

i camped on the goulbourn river recently and approached a camp after 2200 hrs as they were making a hell of a noise but I could use the reason that I was concerned for there safety as there were some explosions occuring. Turned out, I reckon that the previous nights campers had left some of these cannisters in the fireplace, hidden, and the new campers had brought them up to the right temp with their new fire. The kids were really spooked.

They never sat easy with me those things, but anyway, that's my camp.

Good on you Ruby, heal up Yo.

kind regards,

AnswerID: 285623

Reply By: Scubaroo - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:51

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:51
What brand was it, and has it been reported to anyone, like the store it was bought from, Consumer Affairs, ACCC? Sounds like they should be listed on ACCC Recalls website, especially if there was a serious injury involved!
AnswerID: 285635

Follow Up By: rredbeak - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 21:53

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 21:53
we got one of those stoves and the instructions are very precise. You MUST turn the burner tray over before lighting,otherwise it may cause the fuel can to explode...

weve used ours a few times without a hitch,but you only need forget once to turn iot over and you might have a nasty accident... cheers... Rod
FollowupID: 550660

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 22:18

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 22:18
they have a peice on the tray that locks it off from being used if upside down
FollowupID: 550669

Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 22:21

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 22:21
cant explain it properly but right from its first use when you push the black knob down that locks in the can. it had a tab or something made of flimsy metal that would go the wrong side of the lever pushing the can home. this would result in a can that is in far enough to work but not locked in. i have to stick my fingers into it while locking down making sure the tab gos the right side of the locking lever
AnswerID: 285671

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 22:22

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 22:22
Then there was this post back in 2004 about a stove doing Yoga by Truckster. Not sure if the photos are available
AnswerID: 285674

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 23:03

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 23:03
I have a similar unit and they are really, really handy. One thing i have never liked is transporting the canisters once they are out of their four pack, plastic shrink wrap. They tend to bang together in the trailer(in a plastic storage bin) and leave dents in the lower edge of the cans. Lately i have been wrapping the separately in a towel to stop them rubbing together.. The other problem is when the weather is cool, the stupid things only half empty and you can be forever changing gas cans back and fourth during cooking. My unit has had miles of use and is starting to show its age so i might heed the warning and get the old Coleman unleaded out and start using it again although they are a pain to use.. Thanks Ivan, this kind of thing is well worth reporting.. Michael
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AnswerID: 285685

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 17:14

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 17:14
I've overcome the clanging together issue by sticking them into 2 stubby holders; one from each end. Too easy!!!
FollowupID: 550787

Reply By: Stu050 - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 23:36

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 23:36
You need to report this incident (including pictures) to the petroleum and gas inspectorate in your state. They will be listed under Mines and Energy in the phone book.

AnswerID: 285695

Reply By: brushmarx - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 10:59

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 10:59
Two Christmases ago, we drove Brissie to Perth and back, and used one of these imports every day.
The thing I did notice that during transport, the gas canister occasionally twisted slightly askew in the holder. The stove did light, but there was a small gap at the connection that allowed gas to leak, and if not noticed, it is not hard to see this causing severe problems.
This canister displacement was not easy to see, but a quick canister wriggle before lighting preventing a recurrence.
Like all gas appliances, checking connections can save injury.
Glad there was no serious harm done.
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AnswerID: 285740

Follow Up By: DesF - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 15:15

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 15:15
Glad everyone was Ok in the end. We have been using this type of cooker regularly on and off for about 5 years,
no probs , I can't light it with the privet upside down, you can't ( normally) press the lever down with it upside down.
About the table getting hot , I don't think this applies much as I regularly use mine with news paper under it to stop the fat spitting onto the table, but it is always out side the van.
Also I never transport it with the can inside, ( wrapped individually in pieces of towelling) also they tell you not to use a pan( etc) larger than the unit, I have seen one very hot due to having a lge stockpot on it.
I have seen one faulty one as it had been transported with the can in it, and when they lit it ,it started to burn at the can nozzle , on inspection the nozzle was found to be bent and it was leaking.
I always check carefully before use.
Cheers Des.
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Reply By: Member - eerfree(QLD) - Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 13:15

Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 13:15
I have just spent some time fiddling with my Portable Gas Stoves, I have Two of them, the National C I have had for longer than 5 years and the Gasmate is only about 12 months old.
Although they both look the same there is considerable difference in the construction, the National C weighs 2.6 kg and the Gasmate 2.0kg (both weighed with the same gas canister).
The mechanism for locking in the canister is different on both stoves, the National C has an almost direct action and is made of much heavier steel than the Gasmate, it is relatively easy to bypass the safety clip on the Gasmate, this means that unless you are very positive connecting the canister to the Gasmate you can easily end up operating the stove with canister crooked and the trivet upside down.
Now all I have to do is get rid of the gas smell before the Good and Lovely comes home.

AnswerID: 286137

Reply By: Graham & Lynne - Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 21:11

Thursday, Feb 07, 2008 at 21:11
Saw results of one blow up at Bathurst V8s in October 2007 Fire Brigade came took photos and statements .Blow out was at top of can where walls join at crimp makes me think fault is with can.
AnswerID: 286221

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