"Fire" and fumes in our indoor greenhouse

Odin's Gma

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
1,035
Location (City and/or State)
USDA Zone 4a+
I will try and keep it brief. Here is a synopsis:
I don't know if Odin clawed or bit through the undersoil heating element or if if shorted out or what, but it was slowly burning and melting the plastic mesh cloth we used to adhere the wire underneath the dirt in his indoor greenhouse. I don't know how many hours it was burning (possibly as many as 5) before we got home.
I removed all of the plants, the plastic landscape cloth, wire heating element most of the soil, the greenhouse cover and much of the other items that were in the room. Everything was turned off for the room to cool down and the windows were left open for days. Odin was kept in a plastic box for 2 nights before we felt it was safe enough for him to go back into his home.
New soil was added, a new greenhouse cover and it was reseeded and planted.
Odin is getting extra long baths daily and spending as much time outside and out of his enclosure and room as time allows.
He no visible injuries, is still active and eating well, and getting as many super long soaks as possible (1-2 a day, rather than 1 or 2 a week) but he is still refusing to go into the greenhouse again.

I'm a mess, not gonna lie.

So, what do I watch for, what can I do in addition to what I have already done?
 

Odin's Gma

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
1,035
Location (City and/or State)
USDA Zone 4a+
Sounds like you avoided a big disaster and fixed it just right. What are you using for heat - a CHE?
We have 3 CHEs (one in each box), in addition to an MVB in one, and a basking lamp in another. We also have a space heater in the room.
The under soil heater was only in the greenhouse.
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
42,210
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
I think all is fine. He may just have been a little scared by what went on or possibly there is some smell he still can smell. I would just keep putting him in every night. Eventually he probably will start to do it on his own again.
Glad it didn't turn out worse then it did.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
90,785
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
We have 3 CHEs (one in each box), in addition to an MVB in one, and a basking lamp in another. We also have a space heater in the room.
The under soil heater was only in the greenhouse.

I had used a seedling heat mat under the substrate in one of my baby tables. I used the same set up for three years, and I kept the soil moist all that time. In my case, I had the wire too much into the substrate (I'll know better next time) and where the wires attached to the heat mat rusted out and shorted out. Next time the wire will have to be up high enough to be exposed and kept dry. the mat is water proof, but the wiring isn't.

You were lucky you caught it in time. Did you put fans in there to blow out the fumes?
 

Odin's Gma

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
1,035
Location (City and/or State)
USDA Zone 4a+
I think all is fine. He may just have been a little scared by what went on or possibly there is some smell he still can smell. I would just keep putting him in every night. Eventually he probably will start to do it on his own again.
Glad it didn't turn out worse then it did.
The funny thing is, when my husband got home that day, Odin was laying right on top of where it was burning. Apparently he wasn't even phased by the heat or the stench (it was under his burrow). My husband had to dig him out!
Me too, I was just sick over the whole thing, and still kind of nervous!
I had used a seedling heat mat under the substrate in one of my baby tables. I used the same set up for three years, and I kept the soil moist all that time. In my case, I had the wire too much into the substrate (I'll know better next time) and where the wires attached to the heat mat rusted out and shorted out. Next time the wire will have to be up high enough to be exposed and kept dry. the mat is water proof, but the wiring isn't.

You were lucky you caught it in time. Did you put fans in there to blow out the fumes?

Ours was in use for 8 months and I stopped worrying about it about four months ago. We always kept it moist too, but it's amazing how fast the smoldering wires dried and and started burning that dirt!

Yes we were, and I am so thankful for that! It happened on Thursday and we finally closed the window and turned off the fans Sunday night, It was a heck of a stressful weekend!
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
Wow, I think you had a lucky escape here, could have been a lot worse.

Hope everything is ok now.

What kind of underfloor heating element was it.(mat, rope etc)?
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,633
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
We do warn about using mats with torts because there is a risk of them digging through. I know that @Tom uses some kind of mat in his night boxes, but don't know what type. Some are probably tougher than others.

I am so glad that this wasn't the disaster it could have been.
 
Top