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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
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    Default Ice House Safety

    In the years I have lived up here in the extremely frozen North, I have seen a lot of things on the ice. Many of them were really stupid and should have been avoided. For those of you who live in really cold places where you can put an ice house out on the lake or river, be seriously careful with the heater. We just had our first accident of the season:
    5 Men Burned In Ice Fishing House Explosion, Condition Update! - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

  2. #2
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    Sep 2010
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    Akron Ohio (don't let that fool you)
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    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    We have our fair share here too Dan, though not in a while. I'd say were almost due for a Darwinesque ice fishing incident!
    Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    I used to do 10 hour days on the ice and have witnessed more than my fair share of stupid 'Darwinesque' acts. I have actually been there to witness an ice house explosion. Missed another by less than 5 minutes. I have seen a fair number of them burned down ton the ice. I even saw one explode followed by burning down to the ice. That was my favorite. A very popular way to build them for resorts is a wood framed house with plywood interior then the spray foam and paint the exterior. It gives them kind of a lumpy look. Anyway, I was heading for the resort's houses this happened to at about 70 on a snowmobile when one house went 'BOOM!', knocking the front wall right out of the house followed by the four fishermen from in it tumbling over each other the get clear of it. The next thing you know it is fully involved in flames. I think the foam may be the reason why, but they could pretty much sweep it up and carry the remains off in a grocery bag in a matter of three minutes.

    I saw another one that had right before I got there, had blown the front wall off also. It was a sheet metal sided version a resort from over in Bostic Bay had. They had four or five guys in that one and other than one of them looking like a had a bad case of alopecia and had laid in a sun tan salon for about two hours more than he should have, were none the worse for wear. Same with the one that burned down. They were all in need of some eyebrow work and a new haircut, but seemed to be pretty much OK. This house in the article if you look at the picture is meant to be hauled for as many miles as you want to over the highway. It was constructed a whole lot more solidly than the others I have seen blow up. I think that's why the difference in the outcome for the occupants. In fact the sunburn guy cleared the house by a good 15' according to the bomber driver I talked to. He didn't even hit the wall, it was already gone when he went sailing by.

    Bombers are the local slang for tracked ice vehicles they haul customers onto the ice in.

    Speaking of ice house heaters, I'm using one and three electric heaters to keep my house from freezing up right now. When my house was hit by lightning this last summer, it did more damage than originally thought to my furnace. Something it did to the inside caused unburned propane to escape inti the heat exchanger and then ignite. I thought it was because of all the electrical damage it did but I fixed that. It did it again and swelled the snot out of the heat exchanger. My Babe Winkleman autographed photo came off the wall in my tackle roon and hit the floor. It's a goner. I don't get a new furnace installed till Thursday or Friday. We got down to -18 last night so that's par for the course. These things never happen when it's an easy temperature to combat. Based on how Murphy's law works, it should warm up ohh.... Saturday.

    I should write a book on all the things I have seen on the ice and at boat accesses over the years before I forget them all. Some of it is really funny.

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    Dan, here's something along the same line. From another forum. Ice fishing in Idaho. Out here you can't set up ice houses like in your neck o' the woods. Just mostly Frabil pop ups or tents. Here's his story-

    "Fished Henrys Saturday, four of us and we all landed 3 or 4 fish a piece. We were fishing between Wild Rose and the Fish Hatchery.
    Any of you that use propane heaters in your shelter may want to learn from my mistake and don't change your bottles in your shelter or near any kind of ignition source. I've changed hundreds of bottles before and never had a problem however Saturday it was -10 F and my buddy heater just wasn't cutting it so I decided to fire up my Coleman heater. I took it into the shelter and began attaching a propane bottle when liquid propane started spraying out of the end of the bottle and all over my coveralls. The buddy heater was about five feet away and I knew I was in trouble, I unscrewed the propane bottle and started towards the door when the whole entire inside of the shelter erupted in a fire ball. I dove out the shelter with my coveralls blazing, I started rolling around in the snow and my brother dove on me. It took a while to put out the gas that had soaked into my coveralls but we finally got it out. Somehow the only damaged I suffered was some singed eye brows and eye lashes. The shelter somehow didn't catch on fire, probably because I hadn't dried it out from the last time I used it and there was a crusty layer of ice coating all the fabric (the fabric was completely dry after the fire ball tho). Not sure if it was the -10 that caused the propane bottle to fail or if something was wrong with the heaters connection but that is the last time I change propane bottles inside my shelter ."
    Life is not like a bowl of cherries. It's more like a jar of ghost peppers. What you eat today might burn your ass tomorrow...

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  7. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    Yup, saw that happen also, or at least pretty much the same thing. This girl I used to work with up here and I went fishing on a small lake way South of here. She had a popup nylon ice house and a small propane heater. She went to light it and I guess the heater was not tight on the tank and it it shot fire like a flame thrower. She grabbed it and tossed it out of the door, but by that time that nylon was pretty much going up like kindling. It burned her face and hands, but fortunately not to bad. No scars or blisters. What was really scarry and probably stupid on my part was my house was right by hers. I grab my snow shovel and start tossing snow on the dang thing. I had a three foot pile on it and it was still shooting flames out of the top like a dang white volcano and I told her to run because if it went off there was no need for us both to get blown up. I should have taken my own advice and run to. I got it out though without anyone being blown into chum. Her house was a complete loss.

    Status update on heating my house. I took the blower motor on the furnace and direct wired it with the furnace on off switch in the line and put one electric heater by the blower and am running it. It's keeping the air moving and I have an even 70 degrees in the house and it's -14 out right now. I had it up to 72 but lost some ground when my propane tank ran out and I had to run to town and get it filled. The electric heaters are not enough to do it alone.

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  9. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Pinedale, WY
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    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    This whole ice fishing business sounds more dangerous than I first thought, glad I haven't gone in that direction.

    Larry
    Larry


  10. #7
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    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    It's actually safe as long as you don't do silly things with your heater, can smell propane and don't think you can hop pressure ridges. Hopping pressure ridges, or more precisely, the attempts to hop them are the source of most of my really funny ice stories.

  11. #8

    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    Quote Originally Posted by mojo View Post
    don't change your bottles in your shelter or near any kind of ignition source.
    I remember reading about something similar happening in a small tent at some unearthly altitude when some guys climbing Everest were trying to melt snow for drinking water. Wasn't a fun outcome for them either.
    - William

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Mid-coast Maine
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    818

    Default Re: Ice House Safety

    When I read Fargo in the url I figured it was all downhill from there..

    When you're in those pop-up tents, and the wind's blowing, and the hole in the ice starts to move, what then?

    I have business associates in Brainerd, they talk about driving their trucks out onto the ice...

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