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MES Fire

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Here are a couple photos of the MES fire aftermath. The grease tray had already been removed and cleaned. This happened about half way through the smoke with the MES chock full of ribs. There were six half racks on each rack. The ribs were not too fatty. I would say they were on the lean side of average.

The photos show that the grease had dripped down into the chip tray and ignited. We saw the flames making their way up to the second rack from the bottom and the fire appeared to be growing. One caution, when I threw a big glass of water in there, it caused some of the grease on the bottom to spatter with flying flames. My innitial reaction was - Maybe I could have handled this a little better. In fact it worked out fine, but, if I was too close, the spattering grease could have come at me.

I started a new thread because this seemed to be a potential problem for all users and that collectively maybe the best soloution could be found. The ribs turned out fine. Check out the photos.

post #2 of 13
Rule #1: Never throw Water on a Grease or Electrical Fire...

Rule #2: When In Doubt See Rule #1...icon_mrgreen.gif
post #3 of 13
Keep a box of salt handy near your smoker. It is far superior to water for a grease fire and will not leave you a nasty clean up.

Man am I ever going to take a closer look at my MES to make sure there is no buildup of grease near the coil. PDT_Armataz_01_04.gif

I have on occasion done two smokes one right after the other without cleaning out the ash tray. Never again after seeing your fire pic.
post #4 of 13
Was the ash tray fully inserted? no gap between the metal? I have never had a problem with drippings getting into the chip pan, and I have had some messy smokes. maybe building a small deflector to direct the fat away from the pan gap??
post #5 of 13
Thanks for the heads up. I will pay closer attention from now on.
post #6 of 13
I had a small fire once when I left the chip loader out. Too much air moving through the smoker caused the chips to ignite. When I looked outside and saw black smoke I knew it was a problem. I reached in with a gloved hand and pulled the chip tray out and set it on the pavement after which it was dosed with water.
post #7 of 13

Water Pan?

One thing I don't see here in your pics is your water pan. All my fatty drippings go right in there-it protects the wood chip tray...You had the pan inserted with water? That's the only thing I can think of.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
The photo of the burner with the tray pulled shows a bit of charred grease ganging down from the top into the tray area. It looks like it went down the front and into the tray there.
post #9 of 13
After looking at mine I agree the water pan should have caught the greese, did you use it?

Have you leveled your mes? I have mine tilted a little to the rear and still have not got any grease in the pan at the back of the unit.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
The MES is pretty level and drains good. I have never used the pan, just the tray that feeds the drain.
post #11 of 13
You should always use the water pan for several reasons, one for heat stabilization and two catch the grease. I think that would have prevented the fire.

It covers the chip box nicely.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow, That is going to take some cleaning.

I'm going to come up with a mod to keep the grease from dripping into the chip box. Maybe foil, maybe a a hood made from a coffee can. I like the idea of the grease getting out of the smoker through the drain, while smoking.
post #13 of 13
Just a thought...I would think with the MES sealed properly there wouldn't be enough air in there to support a fire, should have used up the little O2 and went out. Maybe there were some gaps in the door seal or your chip loader wasn't in right, letting too much air in the chamber. I notice early on that the bottom part of the door on my MES would bow slightly after it heated up and leave a gap along the bottom. I added an extra latch to the top and bottom of the door to keep it sealed.
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