Fumes from biodiesel kit cause house explosion in Surprise
Reported by: Tim Vetscher
Last Update: 8/24 6:40 pm
The garage of this Surprise home caught fire early Sunday after fumes from chemicals used for making bio-diesel caused an explosion.
Investigators say fumes from chemicals used in making biodiesel sparked an explosion Sunday morning at a home near Litchfield and Greenway roads in Surprise.
Darren Spreadbury says he recently started making biodiesel in his garage to save money on the high price of gasoline.
He admits to ordering a kit off the internet and mixing the chemicals: lye, vegetable oil and methanol in the garage.
Sunday morning, some oily rags in Spreadbury's garage combusted and caught fire. The flames from that fire ignited fumes in a nearby methanol drum, sparking an explosion.
"We knew about (Spreadbury) doing the biodiesel but we didn't think he was a danger to us," said neighbor Shannon Daron.
When asked if she now felt differently, Daron replied "absolutely."
The fire never spread beyond the garage and Spreadbury and his family were not injured.
A spokesperson for the Surprise Fire Department said Sunday they're concerned more people will turn to alternative fuels like biodiesel with the rising price of gas.
Asst. Chief Kevin Pool worries, if not installed and maintained properly, they could see more fires started by people making biodiesel at home. "You might make one little mistake like this and there could be a tragedy," said Pool. "It's at your own risk and your neighbor's risk."
"We just bought this house," said Daron. "We don't want it jeopardized or our children."
The Surprise Fire Department recommends people only buy biodiesel kits from reputable dealers on the internet and to make biodiesel in a commercial setting, never at home.