CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign man working on his lawn mower was injured when the machine caught fire Saturday afternoon, sparking a fire in a storage shed.
Champaign Fire Lt. Stephen Burden said because of medical privacy laws, he was unable to give the man’s name or any information on how badly he may have been injured.
Firefighters were called to a home in the 2200 block of Branch Road in the Southwood subdivision about 1:50 p.m.
A storage shed against a back fence, approximately 30 feet from the house, was on fire, Burden said.
“The homeowner was working on his lawn mower trying to get it started. It backfired. He was using gas. It’s not a good combination,” Burden said.
The homeowner reportedly emptied two fire extinguishers on the burning shed before firefighters got there and was using a garden hose on the fire when they arrived.
“Do not fight it before calling us,” Burden said, adding that any kind of work on machinery should be done outside.
“If you’re going to fuel any motorized vehicle or machinery, do it outside so it gets full ventilation. If you spill inside a closed area, the vapors are enclosed and all it takes is a spark to ignite it,” he said.
Burden said the 8-by-10 feet storage shed and its contents were heavily damaged. He said there was a riding mower and other lawn equipment in there. There was also damage to a fence behind the shed separating it from a home on Belmore Drive to the north. Burden estimated damage at $5,000 to $7,000.
Firefighters had the fire knocked down in about 10 minutes but remained another 30 minutes or so to make sure everything was out.