On Sunday, March 15, a forklift truck fire at the Home Depot location in Lower Pottsgrove Township, PA forced the store to evacuate its shoppers until the fire was extinguished.
According to WFMZ-TV, the store, located at 295 Armand Hammer Blvd., was shut down for about an hour as firefighters and store personnel responded.
Fire crews used a specialized firefighting foam that extinguished the flames without setting off an explosion in the forklift’s propane tank or its hydraulic oil, the Mercury News reported. Firefighters were able to remove the propane tank from the burning piece of equipment before it exploded.
“The only protection you have (against the fire) is to put it out and get it under control as fast as possible,” Lower Pottsgrove Fire Marshal Lewis Babel explained. “It’s very dangerous, but that’s their job.”
It’s no surprise that one in four accidents in the workplace stems will involve a forklift truck, according to Cintas Corporation data. Given their prevalence, it’s important to train all personnel on the steps to take following a forklift-related accident.
Babel told the Mercury News that a Home Depot employee discovered the fire while closing up the store’s outdoor Garden Center. The employee saw “yellow flames … shooting up higher than the forklift,” Babel said. The employee reported the fire at 4:49 p.m., and the store’s shoppers and 50 employees were evacuated shortly thereafter.
Babel said an issue with the forklift’s electrical wiring caused the fire. The flames damaged some store merchandise that had been stacked near the forklift.
None of the store’s employees or shoppers were harmed by the fire, as there were no people in the Garden Center at the time of the fire.
And once their work was done, the firefighters were treated to soft pretzels from a nearby food stand, the Mercury Newsreports — the best reward after putting out a tough forklift fire.