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Cigarette Lighters

Tricky Vicky & Mickey
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During our recent visit to Mpumalanga, we removed a cigarette lighter from a cache. We put it in the central open console area of the car and promptly forgot about it. You can well imagine our surprise when a few days later we heard a loud bang from inside the locked cache mobile and discovered the little blue lighter had actually exploded and hundreds of little bits of blue plastic were scattered inside the vehicle! Luckily we weren't in the vehicle and no damage was actually done to the car.


We can only imagine what would have happened to the cache container if it had exploded a few days earlier!

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They did a show about this on Mythbusters. Heat makes butane, or what ever other fluid they may use in lighters, expand. Eventually the critical pressure is reached and the plastic casing decompresses violently. You should never leave any pressureized cannister in a hot car, but I applaud you for removing the item from the cache.

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I was recently in South Africa and cached in Mpumalanga and KZN predominantly. I think I removed 3 lighters in total from caches that I found. :( Another item that I found was matches - equally dangerous in the wrong hands. I make a point of removing anything that I think is or could be dangerous.


Another pet peeve of mine is food - sweets, lollipops, etc. Not only do they attract animals and insects to caches, but they tend to get gooey very quickly and make the rest of the contents gooey as well. YUCH!


Rant over! happy caching everyone.

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:( During our last caching spree in Limpopo we removed 5-6 firecrackers from various caches. The firecrackers were all the same made, so the suggestion is that one cacher placed them.


Whenever we see dangerous items, i.e. lighters, matches this sort, we remove them, this also includes knifes.


Happy Caching from Cache Fan


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I also removed lighters before. And sweets. And at my last cache I did I even found a can of beer, which I had to remove after I saw that it was still far from its' expiry date. After I while in the ice I opened it and it was still very good.

But those people who put those "forbidden" stuff in the caches, did they not read the rules? Maybe we can sent them just a friendly email to tell them about the dangers and advise them on the rules.

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Yep been there, found that... Knives, lighters, crackers, sweets, and even dope. Removed all but the dope. In hindsight I should have tossed the dope but then it may have grown into a nice big bush... And then some cacher may be caught rummaging round a dope bush when the cops show up. And as I don't carry a lighter or smoke I didn't even get to destroy the dope. In that case I thing a lighter in the cache might have been handy. I could also have smoked out the nasty puff adder lying nearby. Mmmm imagine that a doped up Puff adder...

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@ Wazat, unbelievable to think some baboon will place "Weed" into a cache. That is a bit of a difficult one to handle, obviously it must be burned, but the good guy could end up smelling like the bad guy. :grin:


"Mmmm imagine that a doped up Puff adder..." he might just think he is a Black Mamba! :grin:

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Foodstuff you can remove without danger. Lighters are scary stuff. I have a video clip of a person that peeped into a petrol tanker and he wanted some light and guess what – yes you are correct. The explosion was enormous and we assume that he was killed. This was an empty tanker but it does give you the idea of the energy that is retained in a little bit of gas.


I also have some gruesome and unedited pictures of a welder that had a fire lighter inside his top pocket. While he was welding a spark fell into the top pocket and the plastic was melted. It blew a hole in his chest and he died at the spot. If you look at the pictures it appears that the person was shot at close range with a shotgun. If you look at these pictures you will never place any lighters in caches again.


I remove a lighter in George at Eagles view of Robinson pass that was so hot – that we had to cool it before removal. The logbook was immediately removed and the cache was drenched with water. The idea was two fold. First you cool and second you minimize shrapnel if exploding. We use the same military drill when handling explosives, setting them, a misfire or when counteracting them. First we had to stabilize the lighter, and then we had to wait for about 30 minutes as per procedure and only then we removed the lighter. Maybe I should publish the procedure in how to deal with stuff like this. If I read the comment on the forum then the military procedure was not followed and someone could have been injured severely. To cause a fire or explosion you need three elements – some energy such as a spark, something to maintain such as the gas, wood, paper, etc and heat to ignite. In this case there were two of the three present mainly heat and gas. Only the spark/energy was missing.


People do not put empty lighters inside caches. They are full and inside a container that has no ventilation – heat will build up. If a lighter is exploding in the hands of a kid at all probability he/she will be killed. If he is still alive then his lungs will be damaged and soon complications will set in. The other risk is that most cachers will have nylon shirts, pants and underwear -this will burn into the skin. If the lighter does not kill you then the rest will do the damage. Most of the caches are not next or near hospitals and most cacher does not carry medical supplies with them that can deal with burn wounds.


I really hope that this practise stops quickly.


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Foodstuff you can remove without danger. Lighters are scary stuff. I have a video clip of a person that peeped into a petrol tanker and he wanted some light and guess what – yes you are correct. The explosion was enormous and we assume that he was killed. This was an empty tanker but it does give you the idea of the energy that is retained in a little bit of gas.



Makes me think of the song


She looked into the gas tank

the height of its contents to see

I lighted a match to assist her

Oh bring back my darling to me

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Yes, I hope the song above will remind cachers of the danger. Sometimes a song is easier to remember. It is not a question if people will get injured – it is a question of when and who and how severe.


An innocent gesture of good will of placing a lighter inside a cache could become a problem. Just recently I visited a cache called “Stairway to heaven”. The cache is completely destroyed during a veldtfire. I am still wondering if there was not a lighter inside this cache. I scratched around for some evidence but I could not find anything that could point to a lighter.


One guy nailed me with a private e-mail. The three elements to an explosion is oxygen, something to burn under pressure and energy in the form of a spark, cigarette, etc. Maybe this is clearer. Also, I will not send the picture of the welder to any private e-mail. One guy received it and he was not happy. Sorry for the picture but this is the truth and this is want can happen.


My brother and I during our young days can speak from first hand experience. My father always told us to respect aerosol spray cans and not to leave them in the sun. We then decided to test it. One day my father was burning some leaves on the farms and we just had to test the theory. We found an empty can and we decided this is the one to test. We dumped it in the fire and we ran away. For a while we thought this was nonsense. Nothing is happening. The next moment the leaves and branches become airborne and the fire was in many places with one hell of a bang. First my father brought the fire under control and then he brought us in control. Ok, for a week we could not sit properly but we learned the lesson well. Should we do the same with cachers that plants firelighters? ;):D



Edited by gerhardoosMPsa
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