In this case, a paper factory and warehouse burned to the ground after a propane-fueled forklift caught fire.

A new operator using the forklift for a short time noticed an odor emanating from it. He went to get his supervisor, but by the time they returned, the forklift was engulfed in flames.

Our work focused on the sale of this forklift into this dusty environment. We set up a like forklift in the field with computerized data acquisition to monitor wheel speed and brake drum temperatures.

We showed that brake drum temperatures created with the handbrake left on were sufficient to ignite paper dusts. We also showed that it was difficult to determine when the brake was on, and that even with the brake barely on, temperatures on the surface of the brake drum were sufficient to ignite the dusts. Finally, we showed that almost all forklift handbrakes were more accessible than this one and therefore more easily cleaned.