Firefighters train on Texas props
P.O. BOX 9161, COLLEGE STATION, TX 77842 s
Permit #204 : S
Volume 23, No. 5 September-October 2008
Volume 23, No. 5 September-October 2008
2 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
21: COVER STORY
FRIENDLY 4: Dave’s Notes
FIRE By David White
BY ANTON RIECHER What happens when a simple
system tries to regulate a complex
Photo by Anton Riecher
system? One word — trouble.
Firefighters attended the annual Industrial Fire School at Texas A&M Uni-
versity in College Station to test themselves against the newest fire ‘prop,’ 17: Industry News
a replicia of an industrial process unit that boasts 18 duel fuel-leak points. • Federal Signal sells E-ONE
• Alabama fire school renamed
6: Coming Clean 25: A Fire Truck for Trona • Ferrara distributes First Attack
Engine manufacturers faced with A California minerals operation • Feds probe Houston fire.
stringent new EPA standards are upgrades to the latest model off
opting out of the fire truck market. the Ferrara assembly line. 23: Incident Log
8: Emissions Mandate 40: Risk Assessment
28: Temperature Rising
To date the impact of new EPA By John Frank
Report attributes an explosion at a
emissions standards on fire Systems knowledge essential to
Texas refinery to a cracked pipe.
apparatus remains largely unseen. adequate emergency preplanning.
32: Dust to Dust
12: Silent Alarm 41: Focus on Hazmat
OSHA slams sugar refiner with
A pencil jammed in an alarm By John Townsend
near record fines after blast.
switch contributed to a 2001 fire Unintended consequences have too
aboard a ship loaded with ammo. often negated new regulations.
34: Firefighters on Demand
Illinois company specializes in
16: Failure to Lift 45: EMS Corner
keeping fire departments staffed.
Crane safety makes national By Bill Kerney
headlines after a refinery accident Big changes are on the way.
36: 15 Minutes
that left four workers dead. Combustion equipment requires 46: Industrial Service
special care by skilled technicians. Directory
18: Proper Respect
Emergency Services Training 39: Decision Pending 48: Spotlight Ads
Institute initiates new live-fire State budget crisis may force
process unit training prop. Nevada fire academy to close. 49: New Products
Publisher Technical Consultant INDUSTRIAL FIRE
Louis N. Molino, Sr.
Incident Log Editor
Anton Riecher Jason Marsh SINCE 1985
Circulation Manager Hazmat Contributor (ISSN 0749-890X)
Gloria Thompson John S. Townsend, Ph.D. P.O. Box 9161/540 Graham Rd.
Marketing Manager EMS Contributor
College Station, TX 77842/45
Lynn White Bill Kerney
Associate Editor Education Contributor
Kendra Graf Attila Hertelendy FAX (979)690-7562
Marketing Representative Risk Contributor E-MAIL email@example.com
Sherrill Miller John A. Frank WEB SITE www.fireworld.com
Industrial Fire World, September-October 2008, Volume 23, No. 5. Industrial Fire World (ISSN 0749-890X) is published bimonthly by Industrial Fire World, Inc., P.O. Box 9161, College Station, Texas 77842. (979) 690-7559. Fax:
(979) 690-7562. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. All rights reserved under International Convention. Copyright © 2007 by Industrial Fire World Inc., all rights reserved. Industrial Fire World is a registered trademark of David White Investments,
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 3
Shortsightedness breeds crisis
Trying to regulate thinking. Ethanol sounded like a good idea
until food prices started going up. Some
complex systems experts maintain that the Americans with
Disabilities Act has actually resulted in lower
using simple ones employment levels among the disabled.
Lack of foresight in our drive to deal with
By DAVID WHITE
environmental issues is creating other
hat happens when a problems for emergency responders as well.
simple system tries to Our choices with regard to diesel engines for
regulate a complex fire apparatus will soon be severely restricted
system? It seems simple thanks to EPA intervention (see page 6). We
for our political system are accustomed to a wide range of choices
to clear up problems with regulations. about the engines we use in our fire engines.
According to Columbia University That is about to change dramatically. Soon
Professor Andrew Gelman, a simple system there will be only one manufacturer left who
operates with limited information (rational is willing to take on the challenge in light of
ignorance), short time horizons, low the new, more restrictive EPA emissions
feedback, and poor and misaligned standards. Not only will there be a supply
incentives. Society and society, in contrast, and demand factor at work, but the diversity
are complex, evolving, high-feedback, of engine sizes and capacity will be severely
incentive-driven systems. When a simple curtailed. Engine cost is project to rise from
system tries to regulate a complex system about $15,000 to as much as $45,000 per
the ultimate outcome can be unforeseen. engine. Thank the environmentalists for
We live in a world today challenged by scoring another crunch on our economy by
emergencies that we failed to envision inhibiting the market and prohibiting
despite our best science and reason. For firefighters from driving what we need and
example, in the HazMat column of this issue want.
you will see how something as simple as Another area where best intentions do not
compact fluorescent light bulbs have major always translate into better service is
unintended consequences. These are emergency health care. Starting with me, no
miniatures of full-sized fluorescents that one wants less than top notch care when we
serve as a more energy efficient alternative have a medical emergency. Hence, the push
to the ordinary incandescent bulbs to improve the capabilities of EMS personnel
commonly used. CFLs are four times more from basic to paramedic. In many instances,
efficient and last up to 10 times longer than this push has improved the level of care the
incandescents. public can access. However, there is a
All of this is positive as long as the downside. Rural communities and industrial
contents of CFL bulbs stay out of the plants were formerly able to keep a few
environmental waste stream once the bulb paramedics on hand by granting them the
expires. CFLs contain toxic materials that may time necessary to get the required training.
be released if the bulb is broken. Although But with new training standards requiring
household CFL bulbs may legally be more and more hours of training, the rank of
disposed of with regular trash in most states, paramedic in industrial plants has almost
they are categorized as household disappeared. People can not be away the
hazardous waste. Apparently, the impact on number of hours needed for training to the
emergency responders who encounter CFLs new standards, particularly in the more
at a fire scene never appeared on the DOE remote areas where they are most needed.
or EPA radar screen, let alone the long term Once again, the unintended consequences
problems of placing this waste in sanitary generate results that reduce the quality of
landfills. operations when the intention was to
There are other examples of such loose Continued on Page 33
4 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
P.O. Box 9161 • 540 Graham Road • College Station, TX 77842/45 • 979.690-7559
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24th Industrial Fire World Emergency Responder Conference & Exposition
March 23-27, 2009 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 5
Holiday Inn Beaumont Plaza ... Beaumont, Texas
Engine manufacturers opt out of the emergency
services market in the face of new, more stringent
EPA emissions standards being phased in by 2010
By ANTON RIECHER/IFW EDITOR
egend states that Henry Ford once new Environmental Protection Agency space. For example, SCR systems require a
L said his Model T was available in
any color the public wanted – as
long as it was black. Something
similar can be said for the choices
that fire chiefs will have in fire truck engines
beginning in 2010.
You can have any engine you want as long
emissions regulations beginning in 2007 have
been essentially invisible to the end user so far.
The same will not be true once the complete
set of regulations take effect in 2010, said
Donald Frazeur, Los Angeles City Fire
Department division commander in charge of
supply and maintenance for 1,200 vehicles.
supplementary tank with urea, an organic
compound that fights nitrogen oxide emissions
when injected into a vehicle’s exhaust.
“A urea tank is fairly common in Europe,”
Barraclough said. “They’ve been meeting
standards similar to these for a long time.”
The moment engineers add more complexity
as it is Cummins. Behind this radical market “What we don’t know is how the fire and hardware to the truck, it means encroaching
constriction are new EPA emissions standards apparatus industry is going to incorporate these somewhere else on the vehicle, he said.
being phased in by 2010. requirements into their designs,” Frazeur said. “Right now, the size of the primary DPF
Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel have chosen “It is going to have an impact on the engine has encroached into the pump area and
to pull out of the emergency services market doghouse and the ability to provide the cooling underneath the cab, both in space and in heat,”
and the over-the-road truck market as well, that’s required. So you’re seeing design changes Barraclough said.
said fire truck consultant Robert Barraclough. as we speak.” For chassis manufacturers, the trick is
Mercedes, which owns Detroit Diesel and Frazeur serves as chairman of the National finding an efficient way to configure the exhaust
Freightliner, is eliminating its Series 60 engines Fire Protection Association’s Fire Department system. Unfortunately, the new EPA
rather than make them compatible with the new Apparatus Committee. New NFPA regulations frown upon extensive exhaust
2010 standards. requirements dealing with exhaust issues modifications.
“Mercedes will have alternate engines, stemming from the EPA standards are under “The fire truck manufacturers used to be
probably coming from Germany or Brazil for consideration. able to move exhaust whenever it got in the
their over-the-road trucks – but only theirs,” As of 2007, the use of diesel particulate way of anything,” Barraclough said. “They’d
Barraclough said. “A new engine is being built filters (DPF) on diesel engines has been just cut and splice and get it done. You can’t do
by Detroit Diesel in addition to those from mandated by EPA to lower emissions as the that anymore. Once you get a chassis that has
Germany and Brazil but, again, I understand first step in phasing in tougher emissions an exhaust system you’re probably going to
they will only be available in Freightliner standards by 2010. An ultra-low-sulfur diesel have to leave it right where it is.”
products.” fuel must be used with this device. With the In a recent issue of the Darley Times
Mack has engines capable of being certified sulfur content in diesel reduced from 500 parts newsletter, W.S. Darley Co. Vice President for
to the 2010 requirements but so far has been per million to 15 parts per million, the use of Engineering Mike Ruthy said that a SCR
uninterested in manufacturing “vocational” this fuel presents a variety of problems for system would encroach on the Darley pump
engines that could be sold to others for custom engine manufacturers. house and may be problematic for other brands
chassis, Barraclough said. Only Cummins has Finding room to add the DPF is hard enough. of pumps.
announced its intention to remain available for By 2010, secondary catalytic reduction (SCR) “It will take up a lot of extra space, but I
commercial and custom chassis. emission systems will be mandated on most hear Cummins has a ‘design-around’ solution
Engine changes to fire trucks imposed by chassis, making further serious demands for that accommodates midship pumps,” he said.
6 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Darley midship pumps have a narrow gear power rating. Exhaust gas temperatures can rise Beginning in January 2007, all
box because of its vertical gear alignment, to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit downstream of the Cummins on-highway engines utilize
meaning less trouble fitting new exhaust DPF. However, NFPA 1901 standards effective exhaust aftertreatment for particulate
systems, he said. CAFS (compressed air foam in 2009 limit tailpipe gas to 851 degrees F. control as well as a crankcase
systems) may need to be reconfigured to “NFPA is coming down with added
coalescing filter to control crankcase
accommodate the exhaust, but it would merely requirements to deal with some of the changes
be a matter of mirroring the current design of in design, particularly with the DPF,” Frazeur
the driver’s side instead of the passenger’s side. said. “It’s not so much where you put it but
PTO (power take off) driven pumps will exhaust temperatures are going to be a lot higher. allow us that,” Frazeur said.
be harder to work around, Ruthy said. Unless We’re going to have to regulate these Dealing with the heat problem is going to
chassis manufacturers change to the 3000 EVS temperatures so that we’re not driving around mean a bigger radiator, among other things. To
transmission with the top mounted PTO, starting grass fires.” gain the space for that added equipment is
options may be limited. One temperature issue of concern to probably going to mean a redesign of the cab
“That said, I cannot say that any chassis firefighters is emissions control by steady state interior. But updates such as SCBA integrated
manufacturer has laid down a clear and firm burn off of particulates. When the emissions into special seats built to crash standards make
direction, so I expect some future surprises,” system reaches a certain level of particulates, that redesign difficult.
Ruthy said. the exhaust flow reverses to burn them out. Giving up the custom chassis in favor of a
The simple fix would seem to be vertical Under the right circumstances, this burn off return to commercial chassis for fire trucks is a
exhaust, but that presents its own problems can constitute a fire danger during emergency possibility, Frazeur said. Some tough tradeoffs
under special circumstances, Frazeur said. For operations. Emissions controls will slow or would have to be made regarding available
instance, what if the truck is parked under a shut down the engine when a certain level of space.
canopy? emissions is sensed to allow the burn off, “The problem with those apparatus is that
“Rather than just say ‘route it up vertically,’ potentially affecting pump pressure at a critical they’re made for over-the-road truckers, not
I think we have to keep the exhaust within a moment. firefighters,” Frazeur said. “There are design
certain temperature,” he said. “An override on the burn off is one of the issues regarding durability and access in an
The combustion-ignition cycle of an engine things we are specifying,” Frazeur said. “The emergency.”
involves a fixed mass of air being acted upon. A engine doesn’t automatically go into burn off. The most immediate impact is expected to
basic four-stroke diesel cycle consists of The operator has the ability to override if be larger emergency vehicles in the future, he
combustion being replaced by heat added to you’re in a bad spot, such as pumping at a said. The cost of the engines to pull these bigger
the air. Exhaust is then replaced by a heat scene and you’ve got grass up against the trucks will probably range between $25,000
rejection process that restores the air to its exhaust.” and $30,000.
initial state. Requiring an override for fire trucks may “It looks to me like it is going to impact our
The 2007 EPA standards have increased mean obtaining a special exception from the apparatus, especially ambulances,” Frazeur
total heat rejection between five and 30 percent, EPA, he said. said. “It looks like our apparatus is going to
depending on the engine make, model and “The EPA has not shown a willingness to grow one to two feet longer.” C
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 7
expected to reduce smog-causing nitrogen oxide (NOx)
To date, the impact of engine changes emissions nearly 2.6 million tons. Soot or particulate
on fire apparatus mandated by the matter (PM) will be reduced by 110,000 tons a year.
With the sulfur content in diesel reduced from 500
EPA remain largely unseen parts per million to 15 parts per million, the use of this
fuel presents a variety of problems for engine
Emissions Sackett and Pierce Manufacturing Director of Research
and Development Roger Lackore worked together on a
presentation entitled “Impact of 2007 Engine Changes
on Fire Apparatus” presented in January at the 20th
annual Apparatus Specification & Vehicle Maintenance
Symposium. Sackett focused on power and torque ratings
while Lackore’s contribution dealt with exhaust
ENGINE & COOLING SYSTEMS
The combustion-ignition cycle of an engine involves
action to a fixed mass of air. A basic four-stroke diesel
cycle consists of combustion being replaced by heat
addition to the air and exhaust is replaced by a heat
rejection process which restores the air to the initial
According to Sackett, the 2007 engine changes have
increased total heat rejection between five and 30 percent
depending on engine make, model and power rating.
“In most cases, the contribution of heat rejection
between the radiator and charged air cooler has changed
significantly,” Sackett said.
This has meant heat exchanger enhancements. The
radiator and charge-air-cooler now require different core
sizes, new core materials, different fin density and
internal turbulation. For example, the series packaging
cooling system offered by Spartan utilizes a radiator
with a 1,434-inch core area, increased from 1,116 inches.
The core material is now copper instead of aluminum.
The charge-air cooler has increased from 881 square
inches to 941 square inches.
The parallel packaging cooling system offers a radiator
with a 900 square inch core area, up from 600 square
inches. The charge-air cooler has increased from 300 to
500 square inches.
Air flow enhancements to the fan and shroud include
Increased engine tunnel heat rejection should not increase under hood fan size, speed, material, emersion, number of blades
and shroud shape. In Spartan’s series packaging cooling
temperatures significantly, but some components may now be closer to
system, the fan has increased from a 30-inch diameter to
the tunnel. Items like Turbo Chargers now may be required.
32 inches. The shroud shape is now optimized for fan
By Mark Sackett & ngine changes to fire trucks in response to new emersion. Transmission cooler has moved from the
Roger Lackore Environmental Protection Agency emissions bottom tank to a separate shell and tube unit.
regulations have been essentially invisible to the The parallel packaging cooling system expands the
end user, a presentation by spokesmen for two leading fan diameter from 28 to 30 inches. Blade depth and
fire truck makers states. shape has also been changed. Transmission cooler is
With regard to power and torque ratings, engine changed from air to oil. All cooling system components
offerings remain similar to those offered before the lower are aluminum.
emissions mandated by EPA in 2007, Mark Sackett, Higher fuel flow rates on certain engines may require
chief engineer for Spartan Chassis, reported. changes in supply and return line size and fuel cooler
As of 2007, the use of diesel particulate filters on restriction. Regarding air intake, certain engines appear
diesel engines has been mandated by the EPA to lower to be more sensitive to air intake temperatures than in
emissions. An ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel must be used the past. Intake locations have been changed and baffles
with this device. The new diesel engine standards are have been added to avoid recirculation.
8 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Under the heading of exhaust aftertreatment, new leak-
proof requirements are in place. Leak-proof designs are
mandatory to deal with atomized fuel in the exhaust
pipe during dosing. Spiral-wrap style flex joints have
been replaced with metal bellows to provide a hermetic
all-metal pressure barrier and seal that flexes various
directions. A heavy duty band clamp known as a Marmon
is now used for joints.
Increased engine tunnel heat rejection may be a
problem. Under-hood temperatures should not increase
significantly, but some components may be closer to the
tunnel than before. Items such as turbo charger shields
may be required to protect other components.
Since 2007, all diesel engines are required to have
diesel particulate filters (DPF) to lower emissions. Engine limited warranties on chrome due to discoloration from Measuring for exhaust
to DPF insulation is now required by all engine high temperatures. skin temperature.
manufacturers. The DPF itself is insulated, and the area Exhaust modifications are mostly frowned upon.
behind the DPF may require insulation or shielding to Commercial and custom chassis manufacturers will not
protect body compartments. allow exhaust modifications between the engine and the
Exhaust insulation lowers skin temperature from as DPF. Some modifications after the DPF may be
high as 700 degrees Fahrenheit to as low as 200 degrees permissible. Modifications between the turbo and the
F. As insulation, stainless steel mat and silica quilt mat DPF could cause serious operational problems and a
are the most effective. Header wrap is less effective. loss of EPA certification.
Exhaust gas temperatures can rise to 1,200 degrees F Exhaust gas aftertreatment involves a process known
downstream of the DPF. However, NFPA 1901-2009 as regeneration. With passive regeneration, no fuel is
limits tailpipe gas to 851 degrees F, meaning that exhaust added. Regeneration happens on its own when the
diffusers will be needed. As a result, while bright chrome temperature is high. With automatic active regeneration,
tailpipes may be offered, do not expect them to stay fuel is added to increase DPF temperature. This puts
bright. Most commercial manufacturers are offering only the engine in control. Regeneration happens only if
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 9
Names That Once Figured
Seagraves • • Continential
Americanni • Waukasha
LaFrance • • Mack
Ahrens-Fox • • Ford
International • • GMC
Diesel particulate needed. Manual active regeneration occurs while the INDOOR AIR QUALITY
filters (DPF) are larger vehicle is stationary and is initiated by the operator. The 2007 EPA regulations place limits on four main
than the 2006 muffler DPFs must be cleaned between 50,000 and 150,000 pollutants for diesel engines.
and may force miles of use. The middle section of the unit must be • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) – 1.2 gm/bhp-hr (grams/
compartments to be removed to perform cleaning. It also requires special brake horsepower-hour)
equipment. As of yet, 2007 engines do not have enough • Non Methane Hydrocarbons (NMHC) – 0.14 gm/
blistered or notched.
miles on them to provide experience yet. bhp-hr
• Carbon Monoxide (CO) – 15.5 gm/bhp-hr
CAB DESIGN CHANGES • Particulates – 0.01 gm/bhp-hr
Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) works by recirculating Likewise, OSHA has established indoor air quality
a portion of an engine’s exhaust gas back to the engine limits as per 29CFR§1900.1000.
cylinders. Engines meeting the 2007 emission standards • Nitric Oxide (NO) – 30 mg/m3 (milligram per cubic
have an enlarged profile for larger or dual turbochargers meter) (eight hour average)
and additional EGR piping on the engines. For example, • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – 9 mg/m3 (ceiling)
radiator capacity increases by almost 15 percent to • Carbon Monoxide (CO) – 55 mg/m3 (eight hour
compensate for additional demands on the cooling average)
system. Particulates not otherwise regulated are likewise
To provide the required engine enclosure clearance, restricted.
some manufacturers maintain their current cab width • Total Dust – 15 mg/m3 (eight hour average)
and provide pocketed areas or offset engine enclosures • Respirable Fraction – 5 mg/ m3 (eight hour average)
to provide the required engine enclosure clearance. Some These limits are based on a fire truck in a sealed garage
manufacturers increase cab width to accommodate the measuring 14 feet by 14 feet by 50 feet. The truck
wider engine profiles. measures eight feet by nine feet by 40 feet. While idling,
Lackore also addressed the issue of increased engine the engine consumes 25 hp. Emissions should be 20
tunnel heat rejection. percent nitrogen dioxide and 80 percent nitric oxide.
“Under-hood temperatures should not increase Testing under these conditions indicates the time by
significantly, but some components may be closer to the which OSHA limits are reached varies by the substance
tunnel than before,” Lackore said. “Multi-layered involved. For nitrous oxide, the limit is reached in 15
insulations are available to enhance protection. Thinner minutes. For carbon monoxide, the time limit is 16
or denser insulations are also being utilized.” minutes, while nitrogen dioxide reaches the limit in 18
Ground clearance of vehicles may be reduced minutes. It takes almost four hours before the limit on
dramatically in the area of the DPF. Because a DPF is particulate matter is exceeded.
larger than the 2006 approved muffler, manufacturers “Pulling apparatus into a garage bay and shutting
may be forced to use blistered or notched compartments. down the engine within a minute or two should never
With approximately two inches of clearance for heat exceed the OSHA indoor air quality limits,” Lackore
shielding and service access, only 28 inches are available said.
for compartments or accessories mounted outboard of Exhaust extraction should be used if operations
the DPF. require vehicle engines to be running while indoors.
Regarding exhaust system packaging, the engine to
DPF pipe cannot be modified by a body builder. This CONCLUSION
ensures EPA compliance. The DPF is primarily a straight Now that 2007 diesel engines are being installed and
exhaust routing installation for most of the larger engines shipped in fire apparatus chassis, manufacturers are
utilized in custom fire chassis. With the limited flexibility learning more about the impact these engines will have.
of the exhaust system piping, vertical exhausts and While the trucks remain almost the same on the exterior,
specialized installations will have limitations. firefighters should be aware of changes under the hood.C
10 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 11
A pencil jammed in an alarm switch
almost turns an ammunition ship into
a floating bomb
By ANTON RIECHER/IFW Editor
Alarm Photo Courtesy of The State Port Pilot
magine fighting a fire inside a giant steel oven. Worse, imagine having According to a subsequent Coast Guard report, the ship’s second
to fight that fire blind. Southport (NC) Fire Department volunteer assistant engineer started a transfer of about 20 tons of heavy fuel oil
John Sledge said that describes the conditions responders faced from the port and starboard overflow tanks to a central settling tank.
battling a fire aboard a loaded ammunition cargo ship in July 2001. The transfer was left unsupervised other than by automatic equipment.
“By the time you got five feet inside the (engine room) door, you “Their electronic system measured the tank levels and sounded an
couldn’t see your hand in front of your face,” Sledge said. alarm if the preset levels were exceeded,” Sledge said. “If you are starting
From gaining access to enduring broiling heat, firefighters overcame to overfill the tanks, it sounds a warning tone.”
a variety of difficulties and brought the ship fire under control within Unfortunately, because cables to several tanks had become
six hours. The blaze never came close to reaching the five million pound contaminated with fuel oil, false alarms had become a repeated nuisance.
cargo of explosives aboard. The easiest solution was to simply turn off the alarms.
“Most of us had little or no experience with shipboard fire fighting, “There was a spring-loaded switch on the control panel that you
particularly of this type, so we were in somewhat unfamiliar territory,” held down to acknowledge that the alarm had sounded,” Sledge said. “A
Sledge said. pencil had been jammed into that switch to keep it in the acknowledged
The Sunny Point Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point, NC, is position. It had been that way for months before the fire.”
the largest ammunition port in the nation and the Army’s primary east Fuel oil overfilled the settling tank and began overflowing into the
coast deep-water port. For this reason, the 16,000-acre Army-owned vent piping connecting it to the main engine mixing tank. The fuel oil
site near the Cape Fear river includes a large undeveloped buffer zone mixed with about one ton of diesel fuel oil, then overflowed into the
and huge sand berms for safety, in case of explosion. venting system for that tank. Eventually, the fuel reached a common
Sunny Point is the only Department of Defense terminal equipped vent chamber tying together the vent systems for all the tanks aboard.
to handle containerized ammunition, as opposed to ammunition loaded “Because of all the different branches, it is called the Christmas
on pallets. The terminal transshipped more than 90 percent of the tree,” Sledge said.
resupply munitions sent to and from the Persian Gulf during operations During the two weeks before the fire, repeated difficulties with
Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Sortie, amounting to nearly 2.1 transfers of heavy fuel oil had been reported, indicating that the transfer
million tons of cargo. system was developing blockages that needed to be repaired. The
At about 4:10 p.m. on July 14, 2001, a fire started onboard the 950- Christmas tree was a suspected source for those blockages.
foot container ship SSG Edward A. Carter, Jr., while the vessel was “The concern was that rust and corrosion had plugged up some of
moored at the south wharf of the terminal. Since the fire occurred on a these lines,” Sledge said. “So they disassembled parts of it.”
Saturday afternoon, the explosive cargo was not being handled. Eighteen The Coast Guard report states that the chief engineer failed to tag
of the vessel’s crew were onboard when the fire started. out the heavy fuel oil transfer pump and associated valves to ensure
12 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
that the transfer system remained off-line while the Christmas tree
flanges were disconnected. As a result, the mixed diesel and fuel oil was
forced up through two disconnected lines and spilled one deck above
the main deck.
“The specific area where this happened is called the fidley, which is
like a pipe chase through which the smokestack travels up through the
main deck,” Sledge said. “There are other conduits and various pieces of
equipment found in this pipe chase.”
The mixed fuel cascaded over the 01 level deck, which is one deck
above the main, or weather deck, making contact with the hot auxiliary
boiler exhaust stack several feet away, resulting in ignition. Fire spread
quickly throughout the aft levels of the engine room and inside the
fidley. A witness reported burning globs of fuel oil the size of baseballs
raining down inside the engine room, rapidly expanding the blaze. An
initial attempt to use a dry chemical extinguisher to control the fire
Other issues compounded the emergency. An initial attempt to start
the main fire pump from the bridge failed, leading to a 10-minute delay
in providing water to crew members battling the blaze. It would be 35
minutes into the fire before a low-pressure CO2 system was activated,
its effectiveness hopelessly compromised by the open portside doors
on either side of the vessel.
“That was allowing a lot of ventilation to get to the fire, allowing it
to grow,” Sledge said. “There were a number of other hatches that had
not been closed to isolate the fire. Smoke spread through the rest of the Photo Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard
ship.” Within the engine control room, there are visual
Two fatalities resulted from the fire. The vessel’s third assistant
and audible alarms, called the Tank Level Indicator,
engineer was found on the 03 level inside the fidley about 12 feet from
that actuates when the bilges or any liquid storage,
the fire door leading to the galley. The wiper (the most junior engine
room crew member) drowned in the Cape Fear river after jumping settling, or service tank has reached a high or low
overboard through the open port sideport door to escape the engine level. Previous problems with the TLI had resulted
room. Although a crew member tossed the wiper several life rings, he in creative alterations to the system.
was unable to reach them before disappearing from sight.
Thick smoke limited access to emergency gear stored where the crew
had been trained to muster. No attempts were made to shut any watertight
or fire doors to form a fire boundary around the engine room. Soon the
fire fighting effort was limited to cooling the main deck and forcing
water down the supply vents.
Sunny Point terminal firefighters arrived within 10 minutes of the
first alarm. At the time of the call, only nine terminal personnel were on
duty, including the dispatcher.
“Fairly shortly after the federal fire department responded they
called the Brunswick County 911 center requesting mutual aid,” Sledge
said. “Our volunteer department is the closest to the terminal. By the
time the emergency was over, every fire department within a five-
county area had some amount of equipment or personnel there.”
Southport, population 2,300, is an idyllic community near the mouth
of the Cape Fear river that has served as a location for television shows
like “Dawson’s Creek” and several movies. Before the fire aboard the
Edward A. Carter, Jr., the closest thing to marine fire fighting handled
by the volunteer department involved the city’s small boat marina,
“It’s become less commercial and more tourist oriented now, but we
used to have a lot of commercial fishing boats,” Sledge said. “My
department has been to a lot of boat fires, but the biggest of those was
a 40- or 50-foot shrimp boat.”
That inexperience would hinder fire fighting operation. Any cargo
vessel weighing more than 500 gross tons is required to have an
international shore connection permitting the shipboard fire main systems
to be charged from another source. Unfortunately, an accident damaged
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 13
Photo Courtesy of The State Port Pilot
the hand-wheel controlling the starboard aft end connection. produced a great deal of steam. Radio contact could not be established
“Somebody stood up on top of the handle and broke it off,” Sledge because of the vessel’s metal structure. Firefighters relayed information
said. “We weren’t able to open that valve.” to the incident command through a messenger system.
The crew failed to alert firefighters responding from onshore that a At about 6 p.m. the vessel’s emergency generator failed. After
second shore connection was available along the port aft end of the attempts to restart it failed, firefighters ordered the ship’s crew to
second deck. evacuate to shore. By this time, the shoreside fire response included
Likewise, the ship’s fire control plan was mislaid after an initial nearly 150 firefighters from 30 surrounding volunteer, city and county
review by firefighters upon arrival. The firefighters were unaware that fire departments.
a duplicate of the fire plan was kept on the vessel’s main deck. About 20 minutes later, a 32-foot fire boat from the Wilmington
“We went for hours where they couldn’t find the plans,” Sledge said. (NC) Fire Department arrived on scene. The fire boat was directed to
“That didn’t help.” use their monitor to cool the sideshell plating along the port side of the
Key personnel in the Southport VFD could call upon their experience engine room space and two cargo holds. A fire boat operated by the
as industrial emergency responders. The fire chief worked at a nearby terminal was not available until approximately 8 p.m. because it was
Archer Daniels Midland citric acid plant Sledge was an operator and only manned during regular business hours Monday through Friday.
shift brigade commander at the two-unit, 1,875 megawatt Brunswick Once the terminal’s boat arrived, three monitors delivering 7,500 gpm
Nuclear Plant located next to the military terminal. were directed to cool the aft end of the engine room exhaust stack above
The first challenge faced by arriving firefighters was gaining access the main deck.
to the vessel, Sledge said. The open sideport door provided the most During most of the fire, the Southport VFD responders found
immediate access to the engine room. However, crossing the gap between themselves applying water from a catwalk overlooking the engine room.
the vessel and the wharf would be the first test of courage for the “That night after the fire was extinguished and the smoke cleared, I
firefighters. went back,” Sledge said. “Past the railing you were looking at the top of
“They had put down a gang plank between the vessel and the wharf,” the diesel engine. It was a 15- to 20-foot drop in some places.”
Sledge said. “It was scary crawling across this board 15 or 20 feet above Worse than the blindness was the heat, Sledge said.
the water. It was very unstable, what with the movement of the ship “It was a matter of just going in and gritting it out,” he said. “It was
and everything.” the hottest fire I’ve ever experienced. It was like walking into an oven.”
Six firefighters gained access into the engine room with two charged What the Southport VFD lacked in experience it made up for in
hoses through the open starboard sideport door. The fire hoses were equipment. It was the closest department that owned a thermal imaging
charged by fire trucks located on the wharf, which were supplied water camera. Brought aboard after the first 90 minutes of fire fighting, that
from nearby fire hydrants. Firefighters did not use any of the vessel’s camera became an important tool in locating the fire deep in the smoke-
fire hoses because the pressure was too low. clogged innards of the burning vessel.
Once aboard the vessel, the firefighters were reduced to working “The camera allowed for better stream placement and foam
blind because of the intense smoke. application,” Sledge said.
“You couldn’t see the fire but you knew what general direction it With the camera identifying hot spots, two fire teams were able to
was in,” Sledge said. “So we were just shooting water in that direction. move further in the engine room. The camera identified the highest
Probably a lot of that water was not effective. You had no way of concentration of heat right below the main engine.
knowing.” The fire was declared under control by 10 p.m. and extinguished by
Two teams were set up inside the engine room, one on either side of 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.
the engine. The teams used a water and foam mixture to cool the hotspots Firefighters with the terminal brigade routinely train in marine fire
which were predominately located below the main engine in the aft fighting. But despite the July 2001 fire, training for marine fire fighting
sections of the engine room. on the scale this emergency required remained a low priority for most
Firefighters used 1,300 gallons of AFFF against the fire. The team area fire departments, Sledge said.
was initially unable to advance through the engine room due to the “That was literally the one time that I have done anything like that
intense smoke and heat. Water sprayed into the back of the main engine in the 25-plus years I have been with the department.” C
14 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 15
for the entire site will take care of it.”
Burkart’s comments follow a July 20th accident at a Houston refinery
in which a 30-story-tall crane capable of lifting one million pounds
collapsed, killing four employees of the contractor hired for the specific
The crane had been assembled to lift the top off a coker unit in order
to replace the drum. However, the collapse occurred prior to that
operation. An investigation is being conducted by the Occupational
Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
Two high profile construction crane collapses in New York City that
involved fatalities earlier this year had focused attention on crane safety
even before the Houston incident. In the week following the Houston
collapse, fatality accidents involving cranes were reported in Smithville,
TX, and Normal, IL.
Burkart is president of his own consulting firm, Aegis Corporation.
He has been involved in construction litigation and has served as an
expert witness for OSHA and many of the country’s most well-known
law firms. A widely published author, he also serves on American Society
of Civil Engineers construction site safety committee as well as other
committees governing the construction industry.
An industrial fire chief should take an early interest in any big lifts
scheduled for his facility, Burkart said.
“The fire chief should ask a) what is the crane going to be picking up
and b) what is it going to be swinging over?” he said. “These cranes have
a long reach. If you’re reaching over places where people are working
and where there are hazardous materials, you need to give it a second
Before a lift is made, a lift plan is formulated. It describes the machine,
its capacity, what is being lifted, where it is going to be picked up from,
where it is going to be set down, the radius the crane will operate within
USCG photo by PA3 Christopher Grisafe and a general description of the rigging and all the lifting devices that
Workers assess damage after a construction crane crashed might be used.
atop a floating fuel pier at Auke Bay Harbor, AK. Emergency response is not usually part of the lift plan, Burkart said.
That is usually left to the facility’s overall emergency action plan.
Crane safety makes national headlines However, that action plan rarely addresses the specifics of a crane
following accident at Houston refinery “The crane is treated as just another piece of equipment,” Burkart
Given the congested nature of most industrial facilities, avoiding all
risk when developing a lift plan is not always practical, he said.
“You’re going to have to identify the risks, probably pick the least
hazardous and develop your own plan for dealing with that area of the
plant if something does happen,” Burkart said.
ANSI A10 standards govern construction and demolitions operations.
Among Burkart’s current projects is developing an A10 standard for
emergency response plans. Current OSHA crane standards were
promulgated in the agency’s early days and have not changed since the
“The real difficulty when a catastrophe occurs on a construction
site is coordinating and controlling what goes on,” Burkart said. “You
By ANTON RIECHER/IFW Editor have to have someone in charge. But that person may not be in the
construction business or know much about it.”
Too often, the first step taken by emergency responders is to run off
ccidents involving construction cranes are not usually
identified in an industrial facility’s emergency action plan anyone with construction expertise, he said. Construction supervisors
as a specific hazard, said crane expert Matthew Burkart. should integrate emergency personnel into the project at an earlier stage.
Unfortunately, the risk is not usually addressed in the “Don’t wait until you have an emergency,” Burkart said. “Go down
specific lift plan governing the crane’s operation either. and grab hold of these rescue people whether they are industrial,
“I’ve lifted over chemical vessels, nuclear vessels and oil refineries,” municipal or volunteer firefighters. Get them out to the site to size up
Burkart said. “The lift plan is intended to keep things from going wrong. the hazard potential and confer on actions to reduce risks. Take the
The assumption is that if it does go wrong the emergency action plan opportunity to stage emergency responders in the safe zone.” C
16 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Federal Signal announces E-ONE sale
ederal Signal Corporation (NYSE: FSS), a leader in advancing Jim Goodwin, interim CEO, stated, “We are pleased to be nearing
security and well-being, announced in July that it has signed a completion of this divestiture. The E-ONE employees in Ocala have
definitive agreement to sell E-ONE, a manufacturer of fire been a part of Federal Signal for many years. With a strong management
apparatus located in Ocala, FL, for approximately $20 million to team led by Peter Guile, and the experience of American Industrial
American Industrial Partners. AIP has confirmed that E-ONE Partners, I am confident that the future of E-ONE is in good hands and
management will invest alongside AIP as significant shareholders of the that they will be able to focus on continuing to build quality, innovative
company. The transaction is expected to close by mid-August. BMO fire apparatus and growing their customer base. I would like to thank all
Capital Markets has acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Federal of the E-ONE employees as well as the dealers and customers who have
Signal on the deal. supported E-ONE while it has been part of Federal Signal.” C
Alabama fire school First Attack nozzles
assumes new name wins 1st distributor
errara Apparatus of Holden, LA, has agreed to serve as
he Oliver Field Emergency Response Training Center near
Mobile, AL, that reopened in April 2007 after being closed distributor for International Fog Inc.’s First Attack pierc-
nearly seven years, is now operating under a new name -- ing fog nozzle in the southern United States, said First
The Gulf Coast Emergency Response Academy. Attack inventor Eugene Ivy.
Mike McCreary, a co-owner in the company that reopened Ferrara is the first company to sign up as a distributor of the
the facility, has joined with a new group to buy out control of the First Attack nozzle, a slender device with a stainless steel tip
academy, said James W. Kiesling, one of those involved in the honed to a 25 degree angle. Behind this piercing tip is a rotating
purchase. Kiesling is a captain with the Fire Department of New sleeve made from Kevlar that creates a 30-foot diameter fog pat-
York’s special operations command. tern.
The 52-acre site is mainly set up for industrial training but Available in two, three and four foot lengths, the First Attack
plans are to expand beyond that, Kiesling said. normally operates in a water pressure range between 50 to 225
“There are numerous haz mat (tanker trucks, rail cars, etc.) psi. However, Ivy has tested it at as much as 400 psi.
props and numerous confined space entries (above and below Ivy, a former Port Arthur, TX, firefighter, designed First At-
ground),” Kiesling said. “A local steel mill that is currently under tack for volunteer fire departments with limited manpower and
construction has expressed an interest in duplicating some of their water resources. It atomizes water into a fog pattern of droplets
extensive underground system on our site.” sized anywhere between five and 20 microns. The nozzle pro-
The fire school is built around a four-story industrial mock-up duces a shield that can reduce the amount of heat reaching the
that can simulate as many as 30 different fire scenarios, including firefighter by 80 percent.
mishaps involving chemical process, railcar loading, pumps, tanks, Ferrara is a leading manufacturer of fire and rescue apparatus.
vessels, flanges, overhead pipe rack, acetylene cutting torches and The company has apparatus in service in 35 major U.S. cities,
electrical transformers. China, South America, the Middle East and The Philippines.
The fire training academy was originally owned by the past “We welcome Ferrara is our first distributor,” Ivy said. “We
Greater Mobile Industrial Association, a not-for-profit industrial are looking for others as well to represent us in other regions of
mutual aid organization. C the U.S.” C
CSB probes fatal Houston heat exchanger rupture
he U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced in August that exchanger, while ammonia flowed through a cylindrical steel shell that
it is proceeding with an investigation of the causes of a recent surrounded the tubes.
accident at a rubber manufacturing facility in southeast Houston, The day prior to the accident, the process was shut down for
in which one employee was killed and seven others were injured, cleaning. During the shutdown, an isolation valve was closed between
including contract workers who were exposed to anhydrousammonia. the heat exchanger and a pressure-relief device designed to protect the
CSB investigators have now completed two week-long visits to the heat exchanger from possible over-pressure. On the morning of the
plant conducting interviews and gathering other evidence. accident, an operator used steam to clean out process piping; the steam
The accident occurred on June 11 during a maintenance operation on also flowed through the heat exchanger tubes. The steam heated the
a heat exchanger, which used pressurized, liquid ammonia to cool liquid ammonia remaining in the exchanger shell which caused the pressure
chemicals that are later processed to make synthetic rubber. The rubber- to build. With the path to the pressure-relief device blocked, the heat
making chemicals were pumped through steel tubes inside the heat exchanger ruptured catastrophically. C
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 17
Photos by Anton Riecher
At far right, the new process unit prop at
TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Insti-
tute is fired up. At top, firefighters work their
way up to the top level of the burning prop.
Immediately above, firefighters move against
a ground fire at the base of the unit. At im-
mediate right, a firefighter organizes for the
next test as instructors discuss the first fire.
Emergency Services Training Institute initiates new process unit replicia
18 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
n July 14, Brayton Fire Training Field’s new prop – Prop important concern and we can always burn the new prop tomorrow.”
No. 31/Process Unit – was planned to be used for training At its highest point, the process unit stands an amazing 66 feet tall
for the first time. It’s the largest live prop on the largest and is a multi-level prop encompassing 21,608 square feet. It boasts six
live-fueled fire training facility in the world. fixed monitors and burns LPG and E3 fuel.
At approximately 3:50 p.m. – literally seconds after the prop was lit The project contains 18 dual-fuel leak points, although not all are lit
– the lightning prediction system sounded at the fire field. The prop at once. The valve station controlling the project is 12 feet wide to
was shut down and firefighters on hand to attend the 46th annual Industrial accommodate the large number of valves involved. The project can
Fire Training School had to clear the field. simulate various scenarios such as a process sump fire, truck-loading
Safety is always the top priority at the Texas Engineering Extension area fire and various other process unit-related emergency situations.
Service’s Emergency Services Training Institute in College Station, TX. Cost of the new prop exceeded $1 million.
The lightning prediction system is an automatic signal to clear the field. The first test burn on the new prop, which involved fire field
“There were a lot of people who were here to see the new prop instructors only, was held on June 16. A successful training burn for
burn,” said Ron Peddy, lead safety official. “But, safety is our most instructors was conducted on July 12. C
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 19
Fire School at
ing Institute deal
with a critical ex-
posure at the
tank and dike
at right, an in-
on connecting a
fire hose. At
right, an instruc-
tor supervises a
hose team. Be-
low, a hose team
tackles the tank
and dike project.
Below, at right, a
up to train.
20 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Industrial emergency responders gather for fire training in Texas
hree million inhabitants of the Caribbean nation of Jamaica “It is important for purposes of insurance that we be certified under
depend on a single refinery, Petrojam Ltd., to provide NFPA 1081 exterior structural fire fighting,” Soso said.
their petroleum. For that reason, Sean Soso and other Certification was an important issue to many of the firefighters on
refinery employees attended the 46th annual Industrial hand this year. Whereas exterior structural fire fighting has been the
Fire School at the Emergency Services Training Institute chief concern in year’s past, certification under NFPA 1081 interior
in College Station, TX. structural fire fighting has also become a focus. Joseph Melton, an
“The fact is we’re working at a refinery and there is a likelihood of operator at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baytown, TX, was one such
fire at any time,” Soso said. “We are the first people to respond.” firefighter.
More than 580 industrial firefighters and safety personnel representing “Most of us have industrial certification and we had to come get the
23 states and 10 countries attended the July fire school held at the Texas interior part to deal with fires inside control rooms, trailers and office
Engineering Extension Service’s Brayton Fire Training Field. buildings,” Melton said. “It’s an area that we have overlooked in the
Firefighters from The Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, past.”
Equatorial Guinea, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and the United States Working beside the students on the fire field are the instructors.
attended the industrial school. More than 200 highly qualified guest instructors and speakers from
Brayton boasts more than 100 specific training sites or “props,” industrial and manufacturing companies trained the emergency responders
many of them live-fire, fueled training replicas representing everything through extensive classroom and hands-on exercises.
from oil tankers to refineries. Melvin Templeton, a safety inspector with Eastman Chemical in
Soso said he was a first time visitor to the school. On the first day of Longview, TX, has helped manage the LPG training prop for five years.
live-fire exercises, he and his Jamaican colleagues trained using the railcar However, he resists being dubbed an expert.
loading rack prop. “You’re never an expert,” Templeton said. “If you’ve been in the
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 21
business 50 years, you’re never an expert. There is always something
you don’t know and need to learn.”
Kevin Parker, an operator at the Marathon refinery in Texas City,
TX, visited the fire school for the first time in three years to obtain his
NFPA 1081 exterior fire fighting certification. A fire marshal for Union
Carbide for 17 years before joining Marathon, Parker formerly served
as an instructor at the industrial fire school.
“It’s good for beginners and it’s also good for senior people,” Parker
said. “You get to go through the different projects and different
experiences. Some of those you can use inside the plant.”
Parker, who also served as a municipal firefighter in Texas City, only
recently joined the fire brigade at Marathon.
“I promised my wife I wouldn’t join,” Parker said. “The next thing
I know somebody told her I was on the fire brigade again.” He said the
couple has since made peace over the issue. C
Above, firefighters move into
position to tackle the pipe
alley project at TEEX’s Emer-
gency Services Training In-
stitute. Above, at right,
firefighters are carefully
monitored for any signs of
heat exhaustion. At immedi-
ate right, the first blazing
moments after the railcar
loading project is ignited.
22 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
INCIDENT LOG Underline Items Denote Fatality For August Incident Logs, Visit www.fireworld.com
July 1 – Birmingham, UK: A fire broke out at explosions were reported at a metals broke out at a beauty supply plant.
a factory in the center of the city. processing plant. July 8 – Tonawanda, NY: A grass fire spread
July 1 – Cedar Rapids, IA: 3 workers were July 4 – Ferndale, MI: A chemical plant pump to a large tank of tar at a coking plant.
injured in an accident involving an elevator shaft used to transfer polymer disintegrated in use, July 8 – Wells Twp., MI: 2 workers were
at a cereal plant warehouse. triggering an evacuation. burned in a paper mill accident.
July 1 – Godfrey, IL: A fire in a vacuum July 4 – Industriepark Hochst, Germany: A July 9 – Alton, IA: A grain dust explosion in
system forced a plastics plant evacuation. water curtain was used by refinery firefighters an elevator set fire to 60,000 bushels of corn.
July 1 – Grandview, WA: An electrical fire after diphyl fumes were released. July 9 – Blackpool, UK: Explosions and fire
spread through a food processing plant. July 4 – Kearny, NJ: An electrical fire at a were reported at a factory.
July 1 – Hardin County, TX: Lightning ignited power plant sent smoke billowing into the sky. July 9 – Blount County, IN: A fire broke out
a fire in a tank battery at an oil transfer station. July 4 – Tarbock Green, UK: A blaze at an at an aluminum plant.
July 1 – Lubeck, WV: A transformer exploded ink factory threatened to ignite highly July 9 – Cedar Rapids, IA: A rail car valve
at a plastics recycling plant. flammable solvents. leaked hydrochloric acid at an agricultural
July 1 – Milford, CN: Firefighters were tested July 5 – Clinton, PA: Heavy smoke resulted products plant.
for toxic exposure after a paint factory fire. from a fire at a fertilizer plant. July 9 – Chalan Piao, China: Fire destroyed
July 1 – Niigata, Japan: Fire broke out in the July 5 – Kerteh, Kuala Lumpur: A flash fire a garment factory.
dryer ductwork at an ethanol plant. at a power distribution station shut down a gas July 9 – Crystal Lake, IL:A fire damaged a
July 1 – Plock, Poland: A refinery fire injured processing plant. plant manufacturing process equipment.
2 workers. July 5 – Mataura, New Zealand: A wood dust July 9 – Kingsport, TN: A lightning strike
July 1 – Sakai, Japan: A small fire near a explosion at a factory injured one worker. interrupted production at an ammunition plant.
crude distillation unit was enough for officials July 5 – Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan: A truck July 9 – Medellin de Brave, Mexico: A man
to shut down production at an oil refinery. with 43,000 pounds of dynamite caught fire. received severe burns when an industrial
July 1 – Sitra, Bahrain: Fire destroyed a paint July 6 – Kentland, IN: A fire at a plastics alcohol warehouse exploded.
factory. plant filled the air with acrid smoke. July 9 – Morfeklen-Waldorf, Germany: A
July 1 – Winchester, KY: A small fire broke July 6 – Mitchell, SD: A rail car loaded with phosphoric acid release was reported at a
out at a biodiesel plant. smeltering byproducts began leaking fumes. refinery.
July 1 – Edison, NJ: Trace amounts of July 6 – Muhlenberg, PA: Ammonia leaked July 9 – North Somerset, UK: Fire erupted
cadmium leaked at an avionics plant. at a dairy plant. in a paint booth at a plant specializing in molds
July 2 – Crystal Lake, IL: Fumes ignited in a July 7 – Arteixo, Spain: A wildfire threatened and casts.
paint booth, severely damaging a plant a refinery. July 9 – Somerset, UK: Local residents were
specializing in conveyor systems. July 7 – Bollene, France: Nearly 8,000 gallons evacuated when fire broke out at a factory.
July 2 – Louisville, KY: A reaction in a methyl- of solution containing a low level of uranium July 10 – Angola, IN: A plant for repackaging
methacrylate railcar triggered a hazmat spilled at a power plant, entering two rivers. firewood was destroyed by fire.
emergency at a chemical plant. July 7 – Clyde, OH: An appliance factory July 10 – Bastrop, TX: Oil leaking on a hot
July 2 – New Milford, CN: 2 paper mill workers worker suffered a head injury. power plant turbine ignited.
became ill after being exposed to vapor venting July 7 – Kurashiki, Japan: Nearly 250 gallons July 10 – Belgachia, India: Fire broke out in
from a tank of bleach. of sulfuric acid leaked at an oil refinery. a heat treatment factory.
July 2 – Newport Beach, CA: A 300-gallon July 7 – Porto, Portugal: Fire destroyed a July 10 – Burns Harbor, IN: A coke oven at
barrel of overheated hypoxy triggered an chemical warehouse at an industrial park. a steel foundry began leaking carbon
evacuation at an adhesives plant. July 7 – Royal City, WA: Several thousand monoxide, forcing workers to evacuate.
July 2 – Savannah, GA: 3 men were injured wood pallets surrounding anhydrous ammonia July 10 – College Grove, MN: Natural gas
in an explosion at an aerospace manufacturer. tanks caught fire. ignited in a heat recovery unit at a power plant.
July 2 – Wilmington, DE: A worker at an ash July 7 – Tacoma, WA: Partially refined crude July 10 – Corpus Christi, TX: The Coast
processing plant was trapped 30 feet in the air oil spewed from a vent stack when a power Guard established a one-mile safety zone after
by a conveyor belt. outage shut down a refinery. a vessel released chloride monomer fumes.
July 2 – York, NE: Fire broke out in the dryer July 7 – Taiz, Yemen: An electrical fire spread July 10 – Hastings, UK: A furniture plant
ductwork at an ethanol plant. through a biscuit factory. warehouse burned.
July 3 – City of Industry, CA: A fire broke July 7 – West Palm Beach, FL: A concrete July 10 – Oxnard, CA: A fire in a water cleaning
out at a plastics plant. recycling plant worker was trapped beneath machine damaged a saw making plant.
July 3 – Cork, Ireland: Hydrochloric acid fallen debris. July 10 – Port Adelaide, Australia: A small
leaked at a fertilizer plant. July 7 – Wheatfield, NY: A furnace fire broke fire damaged a factory.
July 3 – Elyria, OH: A 4-story factory used out at a chemical plant. July 10 – Red Bay, AL: An auto parts plant
for making sinks was destroyed by fire. July 8 – Belle, WV: Pressure built inside a worker was injured when he caught his arm in
July 3 – Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta: A tanker car when flammable liquid penetrated machinery.
storage well at a chemical plant began leaking. the inner tank. July 11 – Abilene, TX: A freight company
July 3 – Hantsport, Nova Scotia: Fire spread July 8 – Berngen, Belgium: An explosion forklift punctured a 55-gallon drum of acetone
through the ventilation system at a power plant. rocked a silo filled with polypropylene powder. and methyl-ethyl-ketone.
July 3 – Jusuit Bend, LA: 3 contract workers July 8 – Curtis Bay, MD: A contractor repairing July 11 – Boise, ID: A manufacturing building
doing maintenance on an oil refinery steam a valve on a sulfuric acid tank at a chemical at a timber plant was destroyed by fire.
line were scalded by a release. plant was sprayed in the face. July 11 – Bradford, UK: 2 workers at a food
July 3 – Kahna, Pakistan: 1 person died and July 8 – Greensboro, NC: Fire broke out in a processing plant suffered flash burns.
11 were injured when a vessel exploded at a dumpster at an industrial waste facility. July 11 – Gothenburg, Sweden: A small fire
pharmaceuticals plant. July 8 – Hoboken, NJ: A dust collector at a broke out on the roof of a turbine building at a
July 3 – Lanesburo, MN: A tanker truck pump valve factory was destroyed by fire. nuclear power plant.
spilled more than 3,000 gallons of ethanol. July 8 – Northampton, PA: A sprinkler July 11 – Green River, WY: Fire broke out on
July 3 – Xinjiang, China: 7 people died in an system extinguished a smoke fire at a plant the roof of a soda ash plant.
oil tank explosion. that processes waste plastics. July 11 – Kiev, Ukraine: 4 workers died when
July 4 – Boode Guarnizo, Spain: Several July 8 – Omaha, NE: A fire fueled by acetone oxygen tanks exploded at a metals factory.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 23
July 11 – Neptune, NJ: An electrician was July 16 – Arjun Nagar, Pakistan: An July 21 – Chignik Bay, AK: Fire gutted a
injured by a flash fire at an electronics plant. ammonia release followed an explosion at an seafood processing plant.
July 11 – Paterson, NJ: A water tower at a ice factory. July 21 – Lafourche, LA: An ammonia leak
cable manufacturing plant burned. July 16 – Athens, Greece: 3 factories at a shrimp processing plant halted traffic
July 11 – Rothschild, WI: A sulfur storage producing timber products and auto parts nearly 3 hours.
bin caught fire at a power plant. were destroyed by a forest fire. July 21 – Louisville, KY: Production resumed
July 11 – Rye, UK: Flames spread from a July 16 – Bedfordshire, UK: A factory for shortly after a fire at a bakery plant.
factory spray booth. Formula One racing cars caught fire. July 21 – Manchester, UK: At least 1 gas
July 11 – Seattle, WA: Smoke rose over a July 16 – Inoi, Greece: A forest fire threatened cylinder detonated during a lengthy fire at a
cement plant. a munitions factory. pallet factory.
July 12 – Crossville, TN: A tanker crash July 16 – Kaesong, N. Korea: A worker died July 21 – Mildred Lake, AB: An oil refinery
spilled titanium tetrachloride on the interstate. when a steel frame at an industrial complex worker collapsed while inside a vessel used
July 12 – Lower Heidelburg, PA: An collapsed. to clean hydrocarbons.
aluminum foundry worker doing repair work July 16 – Kenly, NC: An evacuation was July 21 – Minas Gerais, Brazil: A fire broke
died when he fell 12 feet. ordered when vapor escaped from a tanker out in a delayed coker at an oil refinery.
July 12 – Melksham, UK: Fire broke out at a truck hauling silicon tetra fluoride. July 21 – Mount Pleasant, TX: A firefighter
tire factory. July 16 – Lynchberg, VA: Baling equipment received minor injuries from a fire at a food
July 13 – Ashland, NY: Fire destroyed a caught fire at a corrugated cardboard factory. processing plant.
tannery. July 16 – Miami, FL: A concrete recycling July 21 – Muskegon County, MI: A major
July 13 – Minneapolis, MN: A fire at a plant worker was crushed to death by a loader. highway was closed when ethanol spilled while
recycling plant threatened nearby buildings. July 16 – Solihull, UK: Fire destroyed a plant an overturned tanker was being emptied.
July 13 – Moscow, Russia: A power failure that mades curtains and blinds. July 21 – Paso Robles, CA: An outbuilding at
triggered a release of gas at an oil refinery. July 16 – Tullamore, Ireland: Sprinklers a chemical plant caught fire.
July 13 – Potter, PA: Zinc oxide fueled a fire contained a fire at a candle factory. July 21 – Salix, IA: A worker at an agricultural
at a metals plant. July 17 – Butte, MT: An acetylene tank plant died when he was buried in soybeans.
July 13 – Sana’a City, Yemen: 1 worker died caught fire at a metal processing facility. July 21 – Thibodaux, LA: An ammonia leak
and 4 were injured in a gas factory explosion. July 17 – Coldwater, MI: Fire broke out in the at a seafood processing plant closed down
July 13 – Starkville, MS: Fire started in a furnace room of a brake parts plant. area traffic for three hours.
ventilation system at a furniture plant. July 17 – Shanghai, China: Three firefighters July 22 – Columbia, TN: An overturned
July 14 – Baytown, TX: A small flash fire was died battling a plastics factory blaze. tanker leaking argon injured two people.
reported at an oil refinery. July 18 – East Bridgewater, MA: An electrical July 22 – Esmeraldas, Ecuador: A gas leak
July 14 – Elwood, IN: Fire spread through a fire broke out at a meat packing plant. at a refinery caused concern.
paint room at an auto parts plant. July 18 – Grand Blanc, MI: A sulfuric acid July 22 – Martinsville, VA: Fire broke out at
July 14 – Mansfield, LA: Vapor from mixing tank exploded at a factory. a furniture finishing plant.
paints threatened to ignite at a power plant. July 18 – Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand: July 22 – Mt. Clemens, MI: A solvent spill
July 14 – New Haven, IN: A stack of 55- Flames from a cold storage facility threatened disrupted operations at a car finishes plant.
gallon drums containing hydrofluoric acid an ammonia plant. July 22 – Naperville, IL: A dust system caught
collapsed at a chemical plant. July 18 – Leggiuno, Italy: An explosion fire at a plant specializing in plastic coloring.
July 14 – Les Roces, Spain: An explosion occurred at a hydrogen peroxide maker. July 22 – Schwarza, Germany: A chemical
occurred in a sawdust silo. July 18 – Perris, CA: A plastics recycling tank exploded at a metalworking plant.
July 14 – Oak Ridge, TN: Workers evacuated worker died when he was pulled into the July 22 – Toowoomba, Australia: Fire
a waste processing plant when a chemical rotating blades of some heavy equipment. spread inside an 80-ton grain silo.
reaction produced yellow smoke. July 18 – Saginaw County, MI: A pipe July 22 – Toronto, ON: Corrosive hydrogen
July 14 – Rockdale, Australia: A chemical ruptured at a semi-conductor plant, releasing peroxide leaked from a storage tank at an
spill at a factory forced neighboring businesses silicon vapor. empty dye plant.
to evacuate. July 18 – Stamford, CN: A fire at a pool July 23 – Almelo, Netherlands: An explosion
July 14 – Springfield, MO: Responders were chemicals warehouse resulted in 13 police rocked a plant where centrifuges for
decontaminated after exposure to onion juice officers being treated for toxic exposure. separating uranium were made.
during a food processing plant fire. July 18 – Williston, FL: Fire erupted at a July 23 – Detroit, MI: An auto plant employee
July 14 – Tiffin, OH: An equipment fire broke water bottling plant. was crushed to death by machinery.
out at a furniture factory. July 19 – Essex, UK: A press drying machine July 23 – Mt. Eden, New Zealand: Fire broke
July 15 – Baytown, TX: A small flash fire at caught fire at a printing plant. out at a foundry for precious metals.
an oil refinery was put out with a steam lance. July 19 – Harrison Twp., PA: A 3-hour blaze July 23 – Offenbach, Germany: A rail tanker
July 15 – Camp Taylor, KY: A fire broke out broke out at a specialty metals manufacturer. leaked crotonaldehyde in a freight station.
in two overheated asphalt processing tanks. July 19 – Ludwigstad, Germany: A fire broke July 23 – Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles:
July 15 – Elgin, IL: A worker at an aluminum out in a filtering unit of a melting furnace at a Fire broke out in an oil refinery distillation unit.
products plant was splashed with sulfuric acid. metallurgical plant. July 23 – York, PA: A transformer at a nuclear
July 15 – Fagras, Romania: 2 people were July 19 – Rush Twp., PA: Several firefighters power station caught fire.
missing after an explosion during demolition at suffered heat exhaustion at a manufacturing July 24 – Auckland, New Zealand:
an aggregate plant. plant specializing in aluminum flake pigment. Firefighters may have been exposed to arsenic
July 15 – Graham, TX: A fire at a plant for July 19 – St. Charles, IL: Fire spread through during a fire at a metals factory.
flotation devices severely injured 3 workers. the high rack storage in a chemical plant July 24 – Cameron, TX: Fire broke out at a
July 15 – Louisville, KY: A fire at an asphalt warehouse. pipe plant.
plant produced thick smoke. July 20 – Frisco, TX: Fire broke out at an July 24 – Fort McMurray, AB: A pipeline at a
July 15 – Marion, PA: An explosion rocked a electronics plant. tar sands operation was vandalized.
fireplace manufacturer. July 20 – Jundiz, Spain: A worker at an July 24 – Harmattan, AB: A fire in a heater
July 15 – Panaktos, Greece: A forest fire industrial products plant was struck by a cover closed a natural gas extraction plant.
threatened a munitions plant. flung during an explosion. July 24 – Porvoo, Finland: Phosphoric acid
July 15 – Port Arthur, TX: A refinery reported July 21 – Betim, Brazil: A fire broke out at an leaked from a corroded valve at an oil refinery.
a hydrogen sulfide leak. oil refinery. Continued on Page 31
24 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
An isolated industrial facility in southeast California buys a new
fire truck. The result is better fire protection for the entire region.
A Fire Truck for Trona By ANTON RIECHER/IFW Editor
Photo courtesy of Searles Valley Minerals
cross California is a chain of dry pleistocene lakes which
were formed during the Ice Ages. Today, the lake bed
near Trona, CA, contains a plethora of sodium and po-
tassium minerals of the carbonate, sulfate, borate and
halide classes, due to long sedimentation and evapora-
tion processes, which occurred over a period of about 150,000 years.
Ed Townsend, chief of emergency services at the Searles Valley
Minerals Operations in Trona, said it feels like it took almost that long
to get an okay for his new Ferrara Intruder II pumper, collected fresh
off the assembly line in early August.
“I was using a 1986 Boardman pumper that held 750 gallons of
water and pumped 1,250 gallons per minute,” Townsend said. “It seated
Above, the Searles Valley Minerals plant in Trona, CA. At
left, the new truck delivered to Trona in August. Below, at
left, the truck early in construction at Ferrara. Below, the
truck nearly finished.
Truck photos courtesy of Ferrara
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 25
Work in progress on the
new Trona fire truck. Ferrara
customers are able to
check the current status of
work on their vehicles visu-
ally via the Internet.
Photo courtesy of Ferrara
about two large people, and that was all.” west, to the Colorado River on the east, to the Nevada State line and
By comparison, Townsend’s new Ferrara seats five firefighters. Kern and Inyo counties on the north.
Built from heavy duty extruded aluminum, it boasts a 400 horsepower Trona is only one of 53 communities that the San Bernardino County
Cummins ISL-400 engine, an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission Fire Department serves. That results in the brigade responding to as
and a single stage Waterous CSU pump capable of 1,500 gallons per many as eight structural fires a month. Trona, population 1,885, has
minute. The pumper comes with a 1,000 gallon water tank and a 20 been losing residents for many years, resulting in a large number of
gallon foam tank. unoccupied houses.
“There aren’t a whole lot of extras, but it’s sure a lot nicer than what Searles Valley Minerals also has a mutual aid agreement with a nearby
we’ve got,” Townsend said. coal-fired power plant that serves as a public utility.
Searles Valley Minerals manages extensive operations in California’s Beside the new pumper, the Trona brigade operates two brush units
Searles Valley. Power and production facilities cover more than 339 referred to as “squad and rescue” units, each carrying 300 gallons of
acres at the Argus, Trona and Westend plants. Of these three, the water. One of the trucks is kept in Trona near Townsend’s office and
Trona facility is the oldest, dating back to 1916. It uses a solvent another is kept at a Searles Valley Mineral facility six miles away.
extraction method to recover boric acid from weak Searles Lake brines. Townsend’s brigade trains weekly. In addition, Townsend brought in
“We pump the brine out of the dry lake bed to get the salt crystals Baton Rouge, LA – based Roco Rescue, specialists in confined space
we need,” Townsend said. “From that, we recover sodium sulfate and and rope rescue training, to conduct two 100-hour classes for the
boron products.” volunteers.
In addition to boric acid, the Trona facility produces anhydrous “We have everyone on the brigade certified,” Townsend said. “We
borax containing low sulfate values and borax decahydrate. get together for rescue training twice a month for six hours and for fire
“We have our own coal fired boilers, so we are self sufficient for training twice a month for four hours per session. We also do 50 hours
energy,” Townsend said. “We employ about 650 employees, and 100 a year of hazmat training.”
contractors.” All of the Trona firefighters are certified as Firefighter I in the state
Protecting the Trona plant is a fire rescue and hazmat team consisting of California. Townsend himself has attended training in industrial fire
of 34 volunteers. Townsend, an 18-year veteran of the plant fire brigade, fighting at Emergency Services Training Institute in College Station,
has served as chief for the last eight. He said it was obvious that the TX.
time had come to replace his former pumper. As for large scale training exercises, the Trona volunteer gets together
“We’ve thrown money at it and more money at it,” Townsend said. with the county firefighters when possible, Townsend said. Often joining
“Finally, it came down to repairing the pump again. I said, ‘Wait a them are firefighters from the Navy’s single largest facility, the China
minute – let’s stop throwing money at this and get something we can Lake Naval Weapons Center, located about 20 miles away. The center is
really use.’” dedicated to airborne weapons testing and training.
The local challenge is not limited to industrial fires. The Trona Trona’s new fire truck came close to its first emergency even before
brigade has a mutual aid agreement with the San Bernardino County it left the Ferrara plant in Holden, LA. Tropical Storm Edouard,
Fire Department. At 20,160 square miles, San Bernardino County is threatening the Gulf Coast, concerned Searles Valley Minerals when
the largest county in the continental United States. The fire department’s Townsend visited Holden to pick up the finished truck.
jurisdiction encompasses 18,353 square miles of extremely diverse “They said bring it straight back here as safe as you can,” Townsend
environments that stretch from the Los Angeles County line on the said. C
26 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 27
February 2007 refinery blast attributed to cracked piping
massive fire that injured four workers and caused the legs can pose special hazards in refineries that should be carefully
total shutdown and evacuation of a refinery in Sunray, managed.” Holmstrom said the refinery (then owned by another
TX, in February 2007 likely occurred after water leaked company) did not identify hazards arising from the dead-leg when it
through a valve, froze and cracked an out-of-service was created in the 1990s and did not implement safeguards, such as
section of piping, causing a release of high-pressure liquid removing the piping, isolating it from the process using metal plates
propane, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) said in a final known as blinds for protecting it against freezing temperatures.
investigation report issued in July. Over time, water seeped past the leaking valve and built up inside
The CSB’s final report concluded the root causes of the accident the low point of the piping elbow. A period of cold weather in early
were that the refinery did not have an effective program to identify and February 2007 likely caused the water to freeze, expand and crack the
freeze-protect piping and equipment that was out of service or piping. On Feb. 16, the daytime temperature increased and the ice
infrequently used; that the refinery did not apply the company’s policies began to melt. At 2:09 p.m., high-pressure liquid propane flowed through
on emergency isolation valves to control fires; and that industry and the leaking valve and was released through the fractured elbow.
company standards did not recommend sufficient fireproofing of Investigators estimated that propane escaped from the pipe at an initial
structural steel against jet fires. rate of 4,500 pounds per minute, quickly creating a huge flammable
“This was a significant accident that seriously burned three people, vapor cloud, which drifted toward a boiler house where CSB investigators
shut down a major oil refinery for two months, and contributed to believe it contacted an ignition source.
gasoline shortages hundreds of miles away in Denver,” said CSB “Once the fire started, there was no way to shut off the supply of
Chairman John Bresland. “The CSB investigation points to a number of fuel because the refinery had not implemented company procedures
areas where oil industry practices should be improved to reduce the requiring the installation of remotely operable shutoff valves,”
likelihood and the severity of process-related fires. Fireproofing, remotely Holmstrom said. “Such valves are especially critical in high-pressure
operable shutoff valves, and effective water deluge systems can spell service to prevent large inventories of flammable material inside process
the difference between a small, quickly
contained fire and a massive blaze that
cripples a large industrial facility.”
The fire occurred in the refinery’s
propane de-asphalting unit, which uses
high-pressure propane as a solvent to
separate gas oil from asphalt; gas oil is
used as a feedstock in other gasoline-
producing refinery processes. The
propane leaked from an ice-damaged piping
elbow that was believed to have been out
of service since the early 1990s, CSB
investigators said. Unknown to refinery
personnel, a metal object had wedged under
the gate of a manual valve above the piping
elbow, allowing liquid to flow through the
valve. Piping above the valve contained
liquid propane at high pressure, and small
amounts of water were entrained in the
“The elbow was part of a ‘dead-leg’
formed when the piping was taken out of
service,” said CSB Investigations
Supervisor Don Holmstrom. “This was a
section of piping that remained connected
to the process but was not intended to Photo Courtesy of U.S. Chemical Safety Board
have any flow of liquid through it. Dead- Surveillance video reveals the emergency scene 90 seconds after the first alarm.
28 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 29
equipment from contributing to a
The growing fire caused the
failure of a pipe flange on a large
extractor tower filled with propane,
igniting a powerful jet fire that was
aimed directly at a major pipe bridge
carrying liquid products throughout
the refinery. Because the pipe bridge
supports were not fireproofed, they
quickly collapsed, severing process
pipes that were essential to the
operation of the refinery.
Company and industry standards
“require fireproofing of structural
steel supports up to a maximum of
50 feet from possible fuel sources,”
Holmstrom said. “The collapse of a
non-fireproofed pipe bridge 77 feet
away from the source of the jet fire
indicates that industry practices
need to be revised.”
The fire also caused the release
of an estimated 5,300 pounds of
toxic chlorine from three one-ton
cylinders stored 100 feet from the
fire. The chlorine, used to disinfect
cooling water, could have posed a
serious threat to emergency
responders had they not already
been evacuated, investigators said.
In addition, the fire threatened a
large spherical tank that contained
up to 151,000 gallons of highly
flammable liquid butane. As a result
of the growing fire, the valves
controlling a water deluge system
designed to cool the sphere became
inaccessible to operators and could
not be opened.
“The consequences of this
accident could have been even more
serious, under slightly different
circumstances,” Bresland said.
“Refineries should minimize the Photo courtesy of U.S. Chemical Safety Board
presence of hazardous substances Crack found in the 10-inch diameter propane mix control station inlet elbow at Sunray.
near units where they may be
exposed to fire hazards and should ensure that emergency systems alternatives such as bleach. The CSB also recommended that refinery
remain operable if a disaster strikes.” staff work with United Steelworkers, which represents employees at
The CSB made recommendations to the American Petroleum Institute the plant, to upgrade hazard analysis procedures.
(API), a leading oil industry trade association that develops safety The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating
practices that are widely followed in the U.S. and overseas. The CSB industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed
called on the API to develop a new recommended practice for freeze- by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look
protection of refinery equipment and to improve existing practices into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as
related to fireproofing, emergency isolation valves and water deluge equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry
systems. The report also called on the refinery’s owner to improve standards and safety management systems.
freeze protection, fireproofing, hazard analysis and emergency isolation The CSB does not issue citations or fines but does make safety
procedures at its 16 North American refineries. recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups and
The CSB urged the refinery to implement its strategic plan to eliminate regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit the CSB Web site at
the use of chlorine for water treatment in favor of inherently safer www.csb.gov. C
30 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
July 26 – Surrey, UK: Fire spread through a
plant specializing in pharmaceutical packaging.
were splattered with hot plastic from a machine
used to make disposable trays.
July 28 – Ulsan, S. Korea: A researcher died
Continued from Page 24
July 27 – Bucharest, Romania: An explosion in a laboratory explosion at a chemical plant.
July 24 – Toledo, OH: A smoky fire broke out in a sawdust dryer at a wood processing July 29 – Brownsville, NY: Fire erupted in
at a recycling plant. factory injured 23 people. the ceiling of a fiberboard manufacturing plant.
July 24 – Tronchiennes, Belgium: A tanker July 27 – Gardner, MA: Fire broke out at a July 29 – Hamilton, TX: Fire broke out in the
truck filled with acid rolled on its side. furniture factory. dust control unit at a molding mill.
July 24 – Torgan, Germany: 2 workers were July 27 – New Orleans, LA: A massive oil July 29 – Iowa City, IA: Fire ignited on the
severely burned in an explosion at a wood spill into the Mississippi River shut down river roof of a detergent factory.
pellet plant. traffic for days. July 29 – Kitakyushu, Japan: A conveyor
July 25 – Brimingham, UK: Fire broke July 27 – Potter Twp., PA: A fire broke out at belt fire spread to a steel plant.
through the roof of a factory. a zinc plant fire. July 29 – Laurel County, KY: A security
July 25 – Bridgeton, NJ: A worker fell from July 27 – San Bernardino, CA: A machine guard at a waste management company died
the roof of a textile plant. that injects preheated dye into plastic caught when a heavy iron security gate fell on him.
July 25 – Jefferson County, OH: Machinery fire at a plastics manufacturing plant. July 29 – Loves Park, IL: An equipment fire
caught fire at a power plant. July 28 – Henley, UK: Heavy smoke made at a machining plant spread through the facility.
July 26 – Bethlehem Twp., NJ: A worker extinguishing a fire at an air conditioning plant July 29 – Owego, NY: Fire tore through a
suffered serious injuries when machinery difficult. recycling plant.
exploded at a plastics processing plant. July 28 – Hillsville, VA: Fire broke out at a July 29 – Pori, Finland: A storage building at
July 26 – Calvert City, KY: An explosion at a textile plant. a hardboard factory caught fire.
chemical plant caused no injuries. July 28 – Lenoir, NC: A fire shut down a wood July 29 – Port of Vancouver, WA: A
July 26 – Hunterdon County, NJ: A plastics panel plant. smoldering fire spread through a hopper at a
plant worker was burned in an explosion. July 28 – Mina Abdullah, Kuwait: Six malting plant.
July 26 – Marquion, France: Traffic was workers were injured in a refinery fire. July 29 – Prince George County, MD: A
interrupted for six hours when nitric acid was July 28 – Palm Beach, FL: Firefighters used power plant fire injured one worker.
discovered leaking from a tank truck. dry chemical to extinguish a magnesium fire July 29 – St. John, New Brunswick: A brief
July 26 – Newcastle, UK: A fire at a packaging at a metal recycling plant. fire at an oil refinery lit up the skies.
plant sent company shares tumbling. July 28 – Port Neches, TX: Fire broke out at July 29 – Tomahawk, WI: 3 workers
July 26 – Nelson, New Zealand: Fire a chemical plant. performing maintenance atop a fiber storage
destroyed a bitumen plant. July 28 – Richmond, CA: A sulfuric acid spill tank at a paper mill died in an explosion.
July 26 – Phoenix, AZ: A parked tanker truck at an oil refinery caused no injuries. July 29 – Wisconsin Rapids, WI: A paper
caught fire at a plant specializing in rubberized July 28 – Rockaway Twp., NY: 2 workers Continued on Page 33
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 31
Photos courtesy of OSHA
Photos taken by OSHA investigators
showing the depth of sugar dust found
at a Gramercy, LA, sugar refinery.
n the wake of a February 7 explosion that killed 13 workers at a sugar refinery
February sugar refinery blast near Savannah, GA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
results in near record fines (OSHA) issued citations in July proposing penalties totaling $8.7 million
against a Sugarland, TX-based company and its two affiliates, the third largest
fine in OSHA history.
More than $5 million of the proposed fines were for violations at the Port
Wentworth, GA, refinery. OSHA added nearly $4 million related to inspections
at the company’s Gramercy, LA, refinery following the February explosion.
“I am outraged that this company would show a complete disregard for its
employees’ safety by knowingly placing them in an extremely dangerous work
environment,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary for Labor, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.
Despite the explosion at Port Wentworth, the company has done little to
ensure abatement of the combustible dust hazards at its other plant, he said.
“If OSHA investigators had not inspected and posted an imminent danger
notice regarding areas at the second plant, the same thing could have happened
again,” Foulke said. That notice resulted in a temporary shut-down of the mill.
The company filed a notice that it intends to fight the citations.
OSHA inspections at both facilities found that there were large accumulations
of combustible sugar dust in workrooms, on electrical motors and on other
equipment. The investigation also determined that officials at the company
were well aware of these conditions but took no action.
At the Gramercy refinery alone, accumulations on the workroom floor were
measured as deep as 48 inches.
Officials theorize that cumulative sugar dust inside the packaging elevator of
one of three silos caught fire. Speculation is that a bucket came loose from the
elevator system, igniting the suspended sugar. A second explosion in the silo
gallery and tunnel spread to the packaging house and adjacent building.
Aside from the fatalities, 40 workers were injured.
The citations included 108 instances of willful violations related to the
combustible dust hazard. A willful violations was defined as a violation committed
with plain indifference to, or intentional disregard for, employee safety and
health. OSHA also issued 10 citations for other willful violations and 100 citations
for serious violations.
The largest fine in OSHA history was $21.3 million issued against a major oil
company after an explosion on March 23, 2005, at its Texas City, TX, refinery.
That explosion killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others. The second
largest fine was against a Louisiana fertilizer company in 1991 after an explosion
that killed eight workers and injured 128 others. C
32 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Incident a fire in a crude oil storage tank.
July 30 – St. George, Australia: A chocolate
Continued from Page 31 factory was destroyed by fire.
July 30 – Summerside, UK: A generating
mill employee who suffered burns was engine at a power plant caught fire.
transported by helicopter. July 31 – Almaty, Kazakhstan: An oil spill
July 30 – Biblis, Germany: A crane struck a briefly halted production at a steel plant.
utility line at a nuclear power plant, triggering a July 31 – Bitola, Macedonia: A power plant
shutdown. fire was quickly extinguished.
July 30 – Brisbane, Australia: A gas leak at July 31 – Busalla, Italy: Fire engulfed an
a food processing plant sent six people to the atmospheric distillation column.
hospital. July 31 – Cardon, Venezuela: An oil refinery
July 30 – Byram, MS: An explosion and small electrician was burned by a high voltage shock.
fire were reported at a plant that extracts oils July 31 – Durham, UK: A tractor plant worker
from various materials. hurt his back in a fall.
July 30 – Catoosa, OK: Fire broke out at an July 31 – East Lothian, UK: A worker was
industrial coatings plant. sprayed with chemical from a burst drum at a
July 30 – Chicago, IL: A candy plant worker recycling center.
was crushed to death by a pallet mover. July 31 – Jaranwak, Pakistan: Seven
July 30 – Clydach, UK: An auto suspension workers were critically injured when fire broke
plant damaged by fire is expected to be closed out following an explosion in a textile mill boiler.
for months. July 31 – Moorabbin, Australia: A forklift
July 30 – Columbia, SC: Sparks ignited a ruptured a high pressure gas line at a factory
gas line at a steel factory. making construction materials.
July 30 – Hartford, CN: A small fire broke out July 31 – Palmasola, Bolivia: More than
at a trash-to-energy power plant. 80,000 gallons of diesel spilled from a ruptured
July 30 – Jackson, MS: A fire broke out at a pipeline at a refinery.
plant that processes grease from fast food July 31 – Parkgate, UK: A steelworker
restaurants. became trapped underneath a cooling bed.
July 30 – Javene, France: A worker at a July 31 – Pensnett, UK: An office fire broke
hazmat disposal plant suffered burns when out at a factory.
waste being handled reacted. July 31 – Plano, TX: Fire from a storage silo
July 30 – Indiantown, FL: A fuel pressure incinerator spread to the roof of a paper
line ruptured at a power plant, causing a small processing plant.
fire. July 31 – Rochester, NY: Two workers at a
July 30 – LaPlace, LA: A worker died when metal recycling plant suffered smoke
he was pinned by a truck at a steel plant. inhalation.
July 30 – Lee, MA: An equipment explosion July 31 – Shelbyville, IN: Fire broke out in a
at a plate glass factory injured two. new warehouse at an insulation manufacturing
July 30 – Richmond, KY: Fire damaged a plant.
battery plant. July 31 – Spokane Valley, WA: Cardboard
July 30 – Rock Hill, NC: Fire forced the ignited at a recycling plant.
evacuation of a carbon fibers plant. July 31 – Taunton, MA: Flames broke out at
July 30 – Seoul, S. Korea: Lightning triggered a recycling plant. C
These examples leads to an important question for emergency responders —
will the failure to think issues such as these through to their potential ultimate
conclusion pose a greater danger in the future? The challenge is enhanced by
today’s emergency responders’ more limited hands-on experience with the broad
range of potential disasters that still rank among the less likely but still possible.
Our planning and training must identify new emerging hazards, even from familiar
sources, and thinking through “What if?”
As environmental issues become increasingly important it becomes more and
more critical for both researchers and practitioners to understand what are these
indirect impacts and the directions these indirect environment impacts will compel
business and economies to move towards. It sets an agenda for future research.C
2009 IFW Emergency Responders Conference & Expo
March 23 - 27th • Beaumont, TX
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 33
Illinois company specializes in keeping fire departments
fully staffed with certified professional responders
Photo Courtesy of Kurtz
Above, Kurtz firefighters hen industry contracts with 1980s.
tackle a live-fire training an outside company for fire “In 1984, the Chicago area had a great push for fire
prop to keep their certifi- protection, it usually means departments to have a contractual arrangement so they
cation current. the plant fire brigade is could utilize our personnel to provide firefighters and
reorganized to suit the EMS services,” Vana said. “Then, in 1999, the fire
company taking charge. chief of a major refinery approached us about
However, Kurtz Industrial providing industrial fire protection.”
Fire Services, based in the Chicago area, seeks to work The biggest difference in recruiting industrial
with the organization in place. firefighters is that while fire fighting experience is
Kurtz President and CEO Tom Vana said his required, it is not always possible to hire personnel
company provides trained fire fighting personnel that with first-hand knowledge of industrial fire fighting.
supplement existing industrial fire brigade operations. The minimum requirement was an Illinois State
Kurtz employs more than 100 industrial firefighters Firefighter II certificate.
working for six industrial sites in four different states. “Because of the inherent risks in a refinery, an
Proposals are on the table to add two more industrial industrial firefighter should also be a state licensed
sites to the Kurtz list. In total, Kurtz employs more EMT-B at a minimum before they come on board
than 300 firefighters when its 16 Chicago-area with us,” Vana said.
community fire departments are included. Utilizing various fire fighting schools such as
The advantage to industry is that Kurtz carries the Refinery Terminal Fire Company in Corpus Christi,
load with regard to paperwork. TX, Emergency Services Training Institute in College
“We handle all the wage and benefits, liability, Station, TX, and the University of Nevada, Reno Fire
workers comp and employment practices part of the Science Academy near Elko, NV, Kurtz firefighters go
business,” Vana said. “Our clients simply pay us a through an extensive 12-week training program before
flat fee to provide them X amount of personnel.” ever going into a plant.
Industry in major cities often has the option of Retired refinery Fire Chief Dale Pirc recently took
participating in a mutual aid organization that unites charge of the Kurtz Consulting and Training Division.
various fire brigades for the common good. The same His mission is to have all Kurtz employees NFPA
is not always true for plants and refineries operating 1081 ProBoard certified.
in remote locations across the Midwest and other areas “One important thing to remember is that the people
of the country,” Vana said. Tom is providing are not intended to replace employees
“These plants may be isolated but they have good in their existing emergency response organization,”
infrastructure in place,” Vana said. “They also have Pirc said. “It’s meant to supplement the existing
good leadership. We provide them with the firefighters organization and provide a good quality core
to follow that leadership.” organization.”
Kurtz started as a private ambulance service in 1977, A frequent problem for mandatory brigades is job
he said. The move into fire fighting came in the mid- turnover, Pirc said. For example, someone who works
34 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
in the laboratory is designated as driver of a shift. At other
fire truck. Despite the time and effort to train times, the Kurtz
that person to a sufficient level, all that may personnel will
well be lost when the lab assistant transfers to either conduct or
another position that does not require time on assist in conduct-
the fire brigade. ing classes for
Likewise, personnel trained as emergency refinery employ-
responders may find themselves with other ees including
operational priorities from their primary job firefighting for
and unable to respond in an emergency, Pirc operators, main-
said. tenance, fire bri-
“The emergency may be in their area of the gade personnel
plant,” he said. “They may have to go out and or, in some cases,
close valves on tanks or perform an emergency clerical employ- Photo Courtesy of Kurtz
shutdown or by-pass procedure.” ees. Training de- Kurtz firefighters undertake a live-fire training assignment.
To avoid this, Kurtz provides a fixed number pends on roles
of trained fire fighting personnel who are on and responsib-ilities of the em-ployees. Time The quick self generated actions of the Kurtz
hand no matter what happens to supplement not spent at the fire stations goes toward fire firefighters in the area of the incident did in
volunteer or mandatory responders, Pirc said. prevention in other ways – industrial hygiene, fact save a life that day.
“You know what you’ve got seven days a fire extinguisher inspections, fire water system “That man would clearly have died had
week, 24 hours a day,” Pirc said. “A lot of flushing and preventative maintenance, flushing there not been a rescue team or fire brigade at
facilities don’t have that. The same holds true monitors, maintaining nozzles, air pack that refinery,” Vana said. “That refinery
for high angle and confined space rescue, haz- inspections and record keeping. manager gave awards to our guys because they
mat and emergency medical services “At one refinery, our staff began to do all prevented a death in the refinery that day.”
responses.” the fit testing,” Vana said. “If it costs $25 or The financial cost to the refinery could have
With the advantages the Kurtz approach more to fit test each person, imagine what you been staggering as well.
offers, getting industry interested is not such a save if you have 1,000 employees and another “Take the increased premiums and other
hard sell, Vana said. 700 to 800 contractors. Hose testing is another numbers into account and our firefighters paid
“OSHA and NFPA have established so chore we’ve taken over as well.” for themselves for about two or three years in
many regulations that there is no way After dinner, firefighters can either utilize that one incident alone,” Vana said.
volunteers or mandatory responders can their time in exercise or computer-based In addition to emergency response services,
maintain their competencies in all areas of training, Pirc said. Kurtz Industrial Fire Services can provide in-
emergency response and still keep an industrial To date, Kurtz industrial firefighters have house reviews of existing in-place fire
facility completely compliant,” he said. handled three major process unit fires. In one protection facility services including fire, haz-
Lower insurance rates are one major selling case, the damage reached $350 million. mat and rescue.
point, Vana said. Mustering workers from “We held it to the point of origin,” Pirc said. The reviews provide a thorough third party
various points across the plant and deploying “The process supervisor told me, ‘Thank God set of eyes to review compliance with NFPA
them as firefighters costs valuable minutes. for the fire crew because if it wasn’t for them, and OSHA codes and standards including
Keeping the fire stations staffed with Kurtz the fire would not have been contained to the training procedures and record keeping, fixed
firefighters means an instant response. point of origin.’” and mobile equipment maintenance and testing
“For what it costs to put 15 trained people In at least one case, having Kurtz firefighters procedures and documentation, emergency
into a refinery, it is almost a wash insurance- on site was the difference between life and response plans, policy and organization
wise,” he said. “Your insurance drops death for two contract refinery workers, Vana statements, employee training and compliance
dramatically when you can demonstrate that said. with OSHA 1910.119, section 13, Emergency
you have firefighters available 24/7, not just an Two contract employees were inadvertently Planning and Response. C
emergency response organization composed of trapped by a
employees hopefully coming from their normal catalyst which
job duties.” had formed a
However, these firefighters do not spend crust at an
the day just waiting for the fire bell, Pirc said. inspection door
“Our people work a 24 hour shift, just like on a catal-yst
municipal firefighters,” he said. “Every morning hopper. The
starts with a safety talk and reviewing what is catalyst gave
going on in the facility that day. Then they way and con-
tackle a safety issue, usually related to the daily sumed both em-
facility activites in the field. Half of the workday ployees while
in the morning is spent on what we call they attempted
mechanical integrity or equipment checks.” to escape on a
In the afternoon, training is always large catwalk and
emphasized for the Kurtz personnel on duty stairway area.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 35
Failure to properly care for combustion Gas trains keep gas out of the combustion chamber when no
combustion is taking place through a series of tight closing , specially
equipment can have fatal consequences designed shut-off valves that are spring-loaded to close. These are the
safety shut-off and blocking valves.
Equipment codes and laws require these valves to be tightness tested
on a regular basis. Auditors at Combustion Safety, Inc. find that proper
checkouts and testing are seldom performed on the building code required
schedules. Leaking gas through these valves into a combustion chamber
can enhance the chances of an explosion.
2) Bad things can happen in control panels! Critical safety
components can be mistakenly jumpered out and/or unreliable
wiring or controldocumentation may exist.
Can Save Your Life
The photographs show evidence of jumpered out safety components,
By JOHN R. PUSKAR, PE/CEC Combustion poor wiring installations and/or poor documentation practices. (c)
indicates wiring not labeled and not arranged such that it can be
afety within manufacturing plants is an ongoing issue that
S understood without a high probability of error. The wiring diagram
needs more focus and attention from those who are in charge
shown in (d) has been customize in the field. This may or may not be
of maintenance and safety. Combustion equipment can be
accurate or correct.
a main source of explosions. These types of disasters are
Bypassing safety circuits is a big no-no. In the case of (e), an obvious
preventable even for someone who does not work with
electrical jumper wire bypasses a control. It is a wire that is not the
combustion equipment on a daily basis. What follows is no substitute
same as the others, is connected with alligator clips and is of a different
for a skilled technician but it can help to save lives if someone is guilty
gauge and color. In (f) a popsicle stick is broken off and jammed into an
of even one of the 10 deadly combustion equipment sins that follow.
air switch contact to hold it open. These are things to look for and find
This screening takes less than 15 minutes. In each case the issue is
before trying to start equipment.
spelled out along with the potential hazard.
3) Obsolete burner management systems can make for long
All of the 10 “deadly sins” illustrated below are real-life examples of
outages and less protection.
what auditors at Combustion Safety, Inc. have come across when asked
to evaluate the safety of combustion equipment. All of these examples
could make for a dangerous working environment that could result in a
fire or explosion under the right conditions.
1) Tightness testing of safety shut-off valves and blocking valves
is not being carried out.
The burner management system in (g) is a new model RM7800 from
Honeywell. An older electro mechanical model R4138 is shown in (h).
Burner Management Systems (BMS) are the most important single
safety component that exists for any piece of gas-fired equipment.
A B Recent advances have put more features and safety into this equipment.
For example, newer BMS have purge timers that are solid state and not
The photographs show evidence of valve testing plugs that do not adjustable. Many explosions have occurred where purge timers have
appear to have ever been removed. This is an obvious sign that the been turned down in the field, making for ineffective removal of flammable
required gas train automatic valve tightness testing is probably not mixtures before pilot light-off cycles have occurred. Another important
taking place. issue is BMS obsolescence. If a BMS system or component fails that is
36 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
no longer manufactured, it could take days of rewiring for a newer,
different style to be installed.
4) Valves in the instrument lines can render switches /
I J O
Valves in instrument lines can be left in the closed position, rendering
switches out of service and functionally incapable of operating. This leaked. These valves are usually spring-loaded to close (not needing the
could leave personnel and equipment unprotected. Valves should always hydraulic fluid for closing). The risk here is mostly one of equipment
be removed or at least locked open as soon as they are found. This downtime when least expected since the hydraulic fluid is needed to
especially applies to (i) high / low gas pressure sensing lines, steam open the valve to light the unit.
pressure switches and water column connections. 8) Lubricated plug valves can be leaking in the closed position
5) Set points that are obviously wrong can render switches / or be frozen in place and inoperable.
Instruments and / or safety devices without correct set points provide
little or no protection. Gas pressure switches are shown that have set R S
points pulled all the way to one side or the other. These are most likely
not set correctly. Improper gas pressures could cause flameouts and
6) Flame roll-out (hard starting) can be a warning for dangerous
conditions that may get worse. T U
Lubricated plug valves fail a number of ways, including leaking when
in the closed position and being stuck in the open or closed position.
Inspections at more than 200 sites found that more than 60 percent
leaked in the closed position. A typical plug valve showing the body,
L plug and lubricant coating on the plug that makes the seal is shown in
(p). A frozen valve that cannot be closed in an emergency is indicated in
(q). Exterior stem corrosion is shown in (r). A valve that has been
When the bottom of equipment is burned or scorched, it may indicate
painted shut is shown in (t). A valve in the closed position that is
flame rollout. This can occur when flues are partially blocked and / or leaking through the inside of the pipe downstream is indicated in (u).
fuel and air mixtures are set incorrectly. In these cases combustible Lubricated plug valves need to be properly maintained on a regular
mixtures and flames can exist outside of the firebox. basis. This means installing the proper sealant material and making sure
One of the risks is catching things on fire that are near the base of this the valves are exercised.
equipment. Another is that as things continue to degrade, the flame 9) Vent valves can be failed open, disrupting burner operating
rollout condition could turn into a catastrophic explosion from the conditions that put live fuel on roofs and sending improper mixtures
accumulation of unburned gasses that ignite at once. into burners.
7) Automatic valve actuator failures (safety shut-off valve, Normally open vent valves are installed in gas trains to improve
blocking valve, pilot or vents) can make for hazardous operating safety when equipment is off (v). They allow gas leakage through the
conditions and down time. first automatic valve to get outside instead of to the firebox. When the
Hydraulic valve actuator failures are sometimes indicated by the burner tries to light, they are supposed to close tight so all the gas goes
presence of hydraulic fluid on the valve’s exterior. These photographs to the burner. If they are failed and leaking, they can vent natural gas
show oil stains on the sides of valves (m), puddling at the valve (n) and from the gas train while the burner tries to operate (w). This makes for
obvious excessive leakage (puddling under the equipment) (o). This risks from ignition sources on the roof. It also makes for burners with
condition it indicates that some of the actuator’s hydraulic fluid has unstable flames that cannot stay lit. If this happens, back-up systems
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 37
Boilers protection from leaking safety shut-off valves / blocking valves or for
relieving failed components. Safety codes require protected vent
Continued from Page 37
terminations (z) be installed with screening devices.
Gas And Combustion System Explosions Can Be Avoided
For companies that are combustion system sinners, salvation can
often be found in the form of awareness and training. It is also most
likely going to take a culture change at the facility and a new found
respect for combustion equipment. Consider the case of a 100-gallon
water heater. The energy stored in a 100-gallon water heater can be
V W equivalent to 10 sticks of dynamite. If a company has10 sticks of
dynamite stored at its facility, it would treat the dynamite with respect.
must recognize the loss of flame and be called upon to shut off the gas. Combustion equipment is not like fall protection or employees wearing
If these fail, an explosion is likely. safety glasses. This equipment has the power to destroy people and
10) Outside vent terminations can be blocked with insect nests. property on a massive scale. It only gives one chance. That chance can
Most instruments and switches are vented with pipes outside to mean death and destruction for those that may be working on or near
safe locations (x) to allow for proper operation and for gas to escape if the equipment, as well as many innocent bystanders. Companies must
a diaphragm failure occurs. Vent terminations are often found to be find 15 minutes to review their sites! C
blocked with insect nests (y). A clogged vent can mean that there is no
For more information, please visit www.combustionsafety.com
or contact Combustion Safety at 1-888-826-3473.
2009 IFW Emergency Responders
Conference & Exposition
X Y Z March 23-27 • Beaumont, TX
38 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Photo by Lynn White
Firefighters tackle one of 25 fire training ‘props’ available at the University of Nevada, Reno Fire Science Academy.
State budget crisis may force closure of Nevada fire academy
decision on closing the University of Nevada, Reno Fire unrealistic cost, enrollment and revenue projections.”
A Science Academy (UNR) near Elko, NV, in response to a
state budget crisis has been postponed by university
regents until October to allow more time to pursue possible
funding partnerships with industry.
The regents’ action comes in the wake of a report by an advisory
council chaired by former Nevada governor Kenny Guinn and prominent
business people recommending closure of the facility.
“While we wish our recommendation to close the FSA could be
otherwise, we believe it to be in the best long-term interests of the
university, the Nevada System of Higher Education, present and future
students and the taxpayers of Nevada,” the report states.
For the 2009-11 biennium, state agencies face a mandated budget cut
of 14 percent to make up for a projected state shortfall approaching $1
billion. The university gets 60 percent of its funding from the state’s
According to The Elko Daily Free Press, regents are unanimous in general fund.
their decision to continue discussion about the closure, but disagree on Located in the Ruby Mountain region of northern Nevada, the UNR
whether they should allow until October or December for progress to Fire Science Academy is home to 25 full-sized live burn props, together
be shown. with a staff residence, administration building, cafeteria and recreation
UNR president Milt Glick recommends the regents to continue the building, classrooms and observation tower. The isolated location
discussion to allow more time for the partnerships to be explored. permits year-round live burns, as opposed to the annual eight-month
University representatives are talking to oil companies and mining schedule allowed at the academy’s previous home in Stead near Reno.
companies who are customers of the academy. The 426-acre academy near Elko opened in March 1999. Eighteen
The university is also in discussion with an oil company trade months later, amidst much red ink and unexpected environmental impact,
association representing more potential students. FSA ceased live-burn training operations. By November 2000, it closed
The Guinn report notes that the fire academy has a long-term capital its doors at the new site completely.
debt of $27.1 million, which is being paid off through student fees. The After untangling a myriad of legal problems, the school reopened in
academy also faces operating and construction repair deficits totaling 2002. That year, FSA trained more than 1,800 firefighters. Enrollment
$12 million. Costs of closing the school after this season could run has steadily increased since then to more than 4,000 students in 2007.
another $3.5 million. Denise Baclawski, FSA executive director, said the school continues
According to the Associated Press, the report says the academy is to train firefighters at that enrollment level.
well run and recognized internationally for its fire fighting training, but “We are committed to providing the same quality services the clients
it has a business plan that was “fatally flawed from the outset with have come to expect,” she said. C
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 39
Pre-planning then and now By JOHN FRANK/XL GAPS
recently had an opportunity to vacation on the Florida island where sticking sprinkler heads up with no pipe. This was before a full time fire
I served as a volunteer firefighter in the combination (part paid, part marshal position was created, and had it not been for our daily
volunteer) department from 1982-1985. I was lucky enough to serve construction walk throughs, we may have never found this situation.
under company officers who believed in pre-planning and that helped Now for what I know to look for now that I did not know then:
spark the interest in this column – where pre-planning is a central focus. 1) I do not remember ever talking about the operation of the building
Now, 23 years after I left and armed with my experience as a fire fire pump. We knew the building had one and that was about it. The
protection engineer, I had a chance to reflect on pre-planning then and recent series of articles by Jeff Roberts describes in detail how to ensure
what more could have been done with more systems knowledge. The that a building pump will reliably operate during the fire and how to
analogies apply to planning for all types of firefighting but more so to keep it running in an emergency.
industrial operations. In the case of the condominium, adequate flow and pressure could be
Interestingly enough, the day I left for the vacation, I read a news delivered by our 1,000 gpm pumper through the fire department
story in one of the online fire magazines that continues to drive home connection. But what about a petrochemical plant with a demand of
the need for industrial pre-planning. It seems that a medium-sized 20,000 gpm at 125 psi; or even a warehouse with a sprinkler demand of
municipal fire department was faced with a fire in a baled paper 2,000 gpm at 135 psi and a 4-inch fire department connection? The
warehouse. As was to be expected, the tightly packed bales of paper facility pump(s) had better work in those cases.
posed a challenge. One of the chief officers stated that due to the 2) Even though we focused on construction, I think we missed the
difficulty of the fire, they had to come up with a plan on how to deal potential combustion hazards of Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems
with the bales. The entire focus of this series is that a planning session (EIFS) that were being installed everywhere. It looks like most
should have been done well before the fire, not in the middle of it. The condominiums on the island uses EIFS. This is often a combustible
site was there, presumably for years, and unlike a highway hazmat exterior finish that most industrial property insurance companies and
incident, you can know what you can expect before you ever get the property loss prevention companies recommend to pass a large scale
call. fire test such as FM Approvals Corner Test or the test described by
Back to the island condominium. Some of the things that we did pre- NFPA 285 Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation
plan were: Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies
1) How to deal with the fact that the aerial ladder could not access Containing Combustible Components. Systems that have not passed
the beach side of the structure. We had 55-foot ground ladders and we such a test could present responders with an unexpectedly severe exterior
were probably one of the last fire departments to carry and actually fire.
intend to use scaling ladders so we could go floor-to-floor as needed. We A recent hotel and casino fire in Las Vegas reportedly involved an
also carried short escape ropes — just long enough to go the floor below EIFS, although some blogs speculate that it may have been something
if we got trapped on the beach side. We could also rappel down the else. Although major industrial insurance companies look for this, I
beach side from the roof. One positive was that building codes limited rarely — if ever — hear the fire service discussing its hazards.
construction to 75 feet high so the aerial could at least get to the roof EIFS is not as common on industrial facilities as in commercial
from the front. At the time, there were two mutual aid ladder companies construction; however, in areas where industrial buildings are trying to
as well. blend into the community, it is more common because it looks nice.
This leads to another point with aerial operations. The outrigger Unfortunately for the responder, it looks like trowel-finished masonry
spread on newer aerials is much wider than in the past. This is safer, but construction (which is the intent) so it is hard to notice.
it takes more space to set them up. Looking at parking lot congestion, a 3) Although we were well aware of our hydrant flow at 20 psi, we
longer aerial will probably be needed to get to those same roofs. really needed is to know the flow at the sprinkler system demand
Think about high rise industrial occupancies with similar congestion pressure. If the sprinkler system has a demand of 300 gpm at 125 psi,
and limited access. What is your plan? Can the newer, longer, safer we need to know if that demand can be met with and without the pump
aerials even negotiate some of the turns or clear pipe racks? and while supplying hose streams. In dealing with fire protection system
2) We were well versed in the construction features of the building. hydraulics, both the flow and pressure must be known. Having class
We used to walk through the condominiums, which were just being built AA hydrants (1,500 gpm at 20 psi) is meaningless for system analysis.
at the time, every shift. We compared what we found to what Frank Saying we have “good” pressure (whatever “good” means) is also
Brannigan had to say in Building Construction for the Fire Service and meaningless since the flow is not stated.
planned accordingly. Brannigan also covered industrial occupancies, What is needed is a statement like “the water spray system needs
especially warehouses, tilt-up concrete construction and combustible 3,000 gpm at 125 psi and we need an additional 2,000 gpm at 125 psi
metal deck roofs. Anyone who fights structural fires should study his for monitors for a total of 5000 gpm @ 125 psi. Then, through flow-
book. Brannigan does not cover process structures specifically, but he testing, if you know you can supply 6,000 gpm at 150 psi even with
had a lot to say about steel construction that can be applied. the largest pump out of service. Then you know something. You can
3) Of course, we know where to find the utility cutoffs, the fire satisfy system volume and pressure requirements and you have enough
alarm panel, the fire department connection, hydrants, flow available at reserve to operate two more 500 gpm monitors if needed to.
20 psi, pool chemicals and the like. 4) I don’t recall discussing wind driven flames. The wind blows in
4) We even found that a few unscrupulous contractors were just Continued on Page 45
40 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
FOCUS ON HAZMAT
Did we really mean to do that? By DR. JOHN S. TOWNSEND
ntil the dawn of the twentieth century, Americans and most of Consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—
the rest of the world for that matter, were pretty much on their and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated
own so far as insuring the quality of the food they ate, the or unintended. Economists and other social scientists have heeded its
medicines they took for their illnesses or the safety of their workplace power for centuries; for just as long, politicians and popular opinion
environments. America was an agrarian society made up of small isolated have largely ignored it.”
communities in which everyone knew everyone else and one knew who In many cases, these “unintended consequences” have actually
milked his cow, churned his butter, baked his bread and prepared his negated the original purpose of the regulation. Thus we have the
medicines; and, he knew how it was done and what went into the final Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was intended to increase
product. He knew that he needed to keep his hand out of the feed mill opportunities for those with disabilities, but, because it increased the
and also what would happen to him if he did not. Any untoward cost of hiring employees with disabilities, it has actually decreased their
happening was considered to be his own fault; it was too bad but he opportunities for employment.
should have known better or been more attentive to what he was doing. Fire prevention measures within forested areas have actually increased
As the urban population grew as a result of the great migration from the danger of fire and the damage caused by it through the accumulation
Europe, this idyllic picture of American society changed radically. Foods, of debris. The corn-based ethanol program has increased the demand for
drugs and other essential commodities became products, created in corn and resulted in a large increase in food prices, not only in the
inanimate factories by anonymous employees of aggressive and United States but around the world. The environmental movements has
sometimes insensitive entrepreneurs and, as always, there were those delayed, if not actually prevented, the construction of newer, more
who would place profits before quality. In 1906, Upton Sinclair efficient oil refining facilities, and this has contributed, at least in part,
published his muckraking novel The Jungle, which dealt with conditions to the current high price of motor fuel.
in the U.S. meat packing industry. The public uproar that followed is In the Desert Southwest, water is a precious commodity. When we
credited, at least in part, with the passage of the Pure Food and Drug find it, we clean it up and use it. When the EPA mandated that all runoff
Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906. Thus began the first sustained water had to be confined to the site where it originated, the result was
effort on the part of the government to insure the health and safety of the construction of containment ponds to hold this runoff water. The
its citizens through regulations and their enforcement. idea seems to have been that any contained water would percolate into
The trend has continued until the present day, expanding the soil (and in the process possibly contaminate the underground
exponentially with the creation of the Centers for Disease Control aquifers) instead of flowing to the river where it could be caught in
(CDC), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), reservoirs downstream for later use. The lawmakers failed to reckon
the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Department with our “adobe” clay soils. These soils hold water like a jug. This is
of Transportation (DOT), The Federal Aeronautics Administration also true of the red clay in Georgia and the “red bed” of west Texas
(FAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) among others, among many others.
all of which promulgate rules and regulations and have a bearing on To comply with the EPA directive, property owners have constructed
legislation passed by Congress. holding ponds on the grounds of their buildings to contain the runoff
As a result, the American public has become used, or almost addicted water and keep it on site. As a result, there are numerous, nicely
to the idea that the way to protect against any risk or hazard is to landscaped ponds all over the community. These are usually filled with
legislate against it, or, at least, regulate it, and this is the duty or large rocks to prevent people or animals from falling in and drowning.
responsibility of government. John Q. Public wants to be guaranteed a These ponds have no outlet and once filled simply sit until the water is
risk free environment; but I’ve got news for John Q “it ain’t gonna removed by pumping or evaporated by the sun. The water stagnates,
happen.” becomes a source of odor, and, worse, provides, an ideal breeding place
To be sure, most of the protective laws and agencies, especially the for mosquitoes, some of which can, and on occasion do, carry West Nile
earlier ones, were created for laudable reasons to satisfy a real need to Virus (WNV). Rains produced by the remnants of Hurricane Dolly
protect health or safety of the citizenry or the environment. Certainly have prompted local government to initiate a frantic effort to get all of
no one should be allowed to use formaldehyde to preserve fresh milk or these ponds sprayed before the WNV-carrying mosquitoes can
sell cosmetics containing salts of lead, mercury bismuth or other heavy reproduce. Of course, spraying introduces more pesticide into the
Other laws have been enacted for the sake of political expediency. The basic tenants of the promulgations of EPA and OSHA are good
After all, what politician wants to be seen as opposed to preserving the and well intentioned, but the “unintended consequences” that have
environment or providing a safe work environment? Some laws were accompanied these regulations have at times created more hazards than
created in response to the pressure generated by public concern and in they have eliminated.
some cases actual fears, which were sometimes exacerbated by the Another “unintended consequence” of legislation has been the creation
media. Whether these concerns or fears are valid does not really matter; of a climate of fear in the mind of the public. As a result, we have seen
they exist, and they can cause a lot of political heat to be generated. proposed legislation based on what might happen rather than credible
Legislation, and indeed most human endeavor, is subject to the “law evidence of an existing hazard. No matter how badly society wants it, a
of unintended consequences.” In an article appearing in The Concise risk-free world simply does not and will not exist. Every action carries
Encyclopedia of Economics, Rob Norton states, “The Law of Unintended with it a certain amount of risk. When one steps out to cross the street
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 41
there is a risk present, even though the light is with the pedestrian. Does thermostats, electrical switches and dental fillings. It is also used to fill
the pedestrian want to get to the other side of the street badly enough to various gauging instruments (thermometers and barometers) and
justify the inherent risk? manometers (the doctor’s sphygmomanometer for example).
The search of a risk-free society has been a windfall to the personal Mercury is also a component of batteries and, with the proliferation
injury lawyers. Almost nightly we see television advertisements asking, of small efficient electronic devices such as in-ear hearing aids, cell
“Have you been hurt by so and so or think you might have been? If so, phones, pocket radios and digital cameras, the number of these being
call this number you may be entitled to compensation.” Another used and later discarded into the environment is growing exponentially,
television ad actually starts off with the words if you or a loved one has becoming a matter of concern to environmentalists.
died……” It would be interesting to know just how many inquiries this Because metallic mercury was formerly used in various oil field gauging
lawyer has gotten from people who have died. There is risk involved in instruments, the petroleum industry has now been required to spend
the use of virtually any medicine, but look at the alternatives; would great sums of money to clean up the sites of numerous pipeline gauging
anyone in his right mind want to have his appendix removed sans stations and refineries.
anesthetic because of the risk? Would a patient with 98 percent heart In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, large amounts of
blockage forego bypass surgery because the drug Trasylol carries a risk mercury were used as a component of the amalgam process to extract
of kidney problems? I think not. The means (relief of surgical pain or precious metals from their ores. In this process, up to 300 pounds of
bleeding) would justify the risks involved; and besides, you can always mercury are combined with a ton of metallic ore, thus an amalgamation
sue your doctor later, at least according to some of the personal injury of the mercury and other metallic minerals is formed. This method, for
lawyers. example, extracted some 50-85 percent of the precious metals from the
Risks are not restricted to medical issues and as a result we have Comstock Lode ores it was used to treat. In the process, however, one
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) that warn us of the hazard of to three pounds of metallic mercury were usually lost to the environment
dropping a steel plate on toes or being hit on the head with it. The coffee in a typical operation. In the case of the Comstock Lode, several million
cup that one gets at the fast food restaurant now carries the warning pounds (up to 14 million pounds by some estimates) of elemental
that coffee is hot (one would think that the sense of touch would tell mercury now exists in the Carson River down stream from the mills.
him that), as if anyone would want his morning coffee at room This mercury will eventually be converted to soluble compounds and
temperature. slowly find its way into the food chain as methylmercury or other
Mercury (atomic number 80, atomic weight 200.59) is one of the compounds which can be assimilated by the human body.
transition (“B” family) elements. Its oxidation states are +2 and +1. While the amalgam process has been superseded by the cyanide
Due to its low melting point (-38.58ºC), mercury exists as a liquid at process in the United States, mercury is still used in many Third World
room temperature. It is the only metal with this property but gallium countries to treat precious metal ores and continues to be a source of
(atomic number 31) is closest with a melting point of 29.76 ºCelsius. environmental contamination. Cyanide on the other hand will rapidly
Mercury is considered toxic but in reality its toxicity when in the degrade into carbon and nitrogen in sunlight or in contact with the
elemental (metallic) state is not nearly as great as it is when combined or atmosphere. Cyanide can also be rapidly neutralized by hydrogen
when it is encountered in the vapor state. In fact, “elemental mercury is peroxide and other chemicals. Even though cyanide is highly poisonous,
usually quite harmless if touched or swallowed. It is so thick and slippery the fact that it will deteriorate in the environment makes it more desirable
that it usually falls off your skin or out of your stomach without being than the amalgam process.
absorbed.”1 This accounts for its successful use as a weight when Another source of mercury is the exhaust from coal burning power
introducing some of the early stomach tubes for gastric analysis. plants. Now there is, of course, nothing unique about power plants.
In order to be toxic, a substance must be absorbed into the tissues, Any coal fired factory will emit mercury, but the generation of power
and for this reason compounds of mercury which are soluble are far accounts for the largest amount of coal consumption in the U.S.
more toxic than the pure metal which is virtually insoluble. Thus the In recent years, the rising cost of energy has caused the general
government has banned many mercury-containing medicinals such as population to focus on efficiency in the home and in the work place.
red mercurochrome and merthiolate. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, energy wasters is the incandescent
While it has not yet been banned, thiomerosal, a common preservative light bulb. This device has been around for almost a hundred years and
for vaccines and used since the 1930’s, has been under scrutiny as a it was truly one of the great inventions of the twentieth century; but it
cause of autism and other brain development disorders found in young is very inefficient with 95 percent of the energy consumed being given
children. So far mainstream medical opinion is that no convincing off as heat rather than as light. This is not a bad thing when you are
scientific evidence supports these claims but the Centers for Disease brooding baby chicks with a couple of 150 watt light bulbs but it does
Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) under become a problem when these same lights raise the temperature of an
the precautionary principle, which is an assumption that there is no already stifling living room in the summer.
harm in exercising caution even if it later turns out to be unwarranted, The problem becomes more acute with the advent of air conditioning.
have asked vaccine manufacturers to remove thiomerosal from vaccines Now we find ourselves paying to create the heat as a by product of light
as quickly as possible. The compound has been rapidly phased out of and then paying again to pump it out of the house. The same thing, by
most U.S. and European vaccines. the way, applies to the domestic refrigerator. The heat extracted from
Mercury vapors are also toxic and the inhalation of these vapors the food compartment is discharged into the room through the condenser,
emanating from spilled mercury can have serious consequences. This is thus increasing the load on the air conditioning system and causing us to
the rationale for the current efforts to reduce the amount of metallic spend more money to remove it.
mercury in the environment. Mercury that has been absorbed into the In 1992 the EPA initiated the Energy Star program to promote
body tends to remain in the body. efficiency. Part of this program encourages the phase out of tungsten
While the average citizen is not aware of it, there is a great deal of lamps in favor of more efficient types. In reality this means Compact
elemental mercury in the ordinary environment. It is present in Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). These lamps are 75 percent more efficient
42 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
than conventional tungsten lamps. For instance, a standard 150 watt locations and sometimes in public buildings. This usually takes shape
tungsten lamp will consume, you guessed it, 150 watts of energy and in the form of a flexible clear plastic tube fitted with sealing end caps
produce 2,600 lumens, the equivalent CFL emitting the same light (2,600 that slips over the lamp at the time of installation and contains the
lumens) will consume on the average 41 watts of power to produce the fragments and the metallic mercury in the event of breakage. We have
same 2,600 lumens; a saving of about 75 percent. The energy saved found no indication of this requirement for fluorescent tubes installed in
translates into less required generation of power and less carbon private homes. Neither is there any record of any secondary containment
emissions, or a smaller “carbon footprint.” requirement for CFLs.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (the “Energy To be sure, each vapor discharge lamp contains only a small amount
Bill”), signed by the President on December of elemental mercury (four to five mg) but
18, 2007 requires all light bulbs use 30 look at a modern city, operating refinery or
percent less energy than today’s other similar industrial installation at night
incandescent bulbs by 2012 to 2014. The to get an idea of the number of mercury-
phase-out will start with 100-watt bulbs in containing lamps in operation. In aggregate,
January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs this represents a significant quantity of
in January 2014. By 2020, a Tier 2 would mercury and this amount will increase as
become effective, which requires all bulbs CFLs become more common.
to be at least 70 percent more efficient One retailer has announced a sales goal
(effectively equal to today’s CFLs). While of one million CFLs for 2008. This goal is
this legislation does not specifically mandate llikely to be met and possibly even exceeded.
the use of compact fluorescent lamps, they The main reason is that conversion of an
are about the only viable alternative to the existing light fixture to use CFLs is usually
tungsten lamp currently available. On the easy. Unlike the traditional fluorescent
surface, this legislation has a laudable tubes or other vapor discharge lamps, CFLs
purpose, but that “Law of Unintended do not require a special fixture containing a
Consequences” does come into play. ballast transformer and/or a starter. All of
All of the high efficiency lamps now these components are contained in the base
available contain mercury. This is true of the lamp. All that is necessary for
whether they are the mercury vapor lamps conversion is to unscrew the old tungsten
or the high pressure sodium vapor lamps Any policy decision has multiple im- bulb, screw in the new CFL and turn on the
that light streets, factories and plant areas pacts/consequences, positive and nega- switch; nothing else is required. It is also
or the common fluorescent tubes that light tive, as well as intended and unintended. true that as CFLs are discarded, more
supermarkets, offices and classrooms. All We can reduce the negative by thinking valuable materials, mainly metals, are lost
contain some mercury. Each CFL or them through and anticipating costs vs. and may revert to the environment unless a
fluorescent tube contains about four or five benefits before finalizing policy. vigorous effort is initiated and pursued.
mg of the metal. The exception is the low The current OSHA standard for mercury
pressure sodium (LPS/SOX) lamps which in air is 0.1mg/m3; therefore the 5 mg in an
usually do not contain mercury but these are not suitable for general average CFL could contaminate 50 cubic meters of atmosphere. An
illumination where the ability to distinguish colors is essential. This average ten by twelve foot room with an eight foot ceiling contains
mercury is a source of environmental contamination in the event of 27.19 m3, thus a spill of the mercury contained in one CFL could
breakage or when the lamp is discarded at the end of its useful life. significantly contaminate two rooms. Parameters like whether or not
Presently most mercury-containing lamps (particularly those types the lamp was operating at the time or if the mercury contained in it
containing the most mercury) are contained in fixtures that are would be warm and therefore more likely to be released in the vapor
inaccessible to the general public such as signs, street lights, large state as opposed to the emanation from a cold, or non operating, lamp
manufacturing facilities and athletic fields, gymnasiums or auditoriums. which might release some metallic mercury which is less dangerous. A
Lamps in such installations are normally fairly well protected from catastrophic event such as a fire, explosion or violent weather, impacting
breakage by their housings and their inaccessible locations and are usually a large industrial installation or city could cause the breakage of a
maintained by professionals who see to it that the replaced lamps were significant number of mercury-containing lamps and concurrently the
disposed of in a safe manner. There are relatively few vapor discharge release of a dangerously large amount of mercury.
lamps in the average home, and those that are present are the familiar Firefighters responding to an incident in even a moderate sized
fluorescent tubes. These are usually located in mounted fixtures and are mercantile or industrial establishment should bear in mind the large
out of reach of children or pets. number of mercury containing lamps in these locations and always use
With the advent of the CFL this is changing. CFLs are now found in appropriate respiratory protection. This admonition should also be
desk lamps, in mechanic’s drop lights and in other portable lighting heeded by clean up crews removing debris after the initial event.
applications throughout the home, office, plant or factory where they Government guidelines for handling a broken CFL or regular
have simply been installed in existing fixtures to replace the heat fluorescent lamps include:
generating and power hungry tungsten lamps previously utilized. CFLs • Evacuation of the room and preclusion of the use of a vacuum
in these applications are far more susceptible to breakage than are those cleaner, which would spread the contamination.
housed in inaccessible mounted fixtures. Because of this possibility of • Ventilation of the area for 15 minutes before attempting clean up
accidental breakage, many jurisdictions now require secondary and the continuation of ventilation for several hours afterward. This
containment of the traditional fluorescent tubes when used in hazardous may lower the concentration of mercury in the room but it will spread
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 43
induced another potential hazard, increased mercury content, into the
Continued from page43
homes and workplaces of America. Is the risk justified by the benefits?
Is the energy saving and the concomitant reduction of the carbon footprint
worth the increased risk of mercury contamination? Have we really
it over a larger area. Air conditioning may well circulate the contamination achieved the projected benefits or have we merely moved the source of
throughout the entire system. contamination from the smokestack to the light socket? Do we need to
• Pat the area of the spill with the sticky side of duct tape, packing re-evaluate the risks from mercury exposure and take into consideration
tape or masking tape to pick up fine particles. Wipe the area with a wet the toxic properties of compounds of mercury as opposed to those of
wipe or damp paper towel to pick up even finer particles. This is good the metallic element?
practice so far as picking up shards and small particles of glass, but just Should we, perhaps, defer the phase-out of the tungsten lamp to
how much mercury will be picked up is questionable since the metal await the advent of non-mercury sources of illumination such as the
does not readily adhere to such surfaces. light emitting diode (LED), which will very likely reach a state of
• Devices for picking up spilled mercury in the laboratory have been practical viability for use in general illumination in the fairly near future?
around for years. These devices take advantage of the fact mercury will If so, should we not place greater emphasis on the development of this
adhere to a clean copper surface. They usually take form in the shape of technology?
a scoop and some sort of sweeper, often a series of copper washers, Once introduced into the environment, and worse into the body,
mounted on an axle, which will pick up the spilled mercury. These mercury is tenacious and remains for years, even centuries. The mercury
fairly inexpensive devices are much more effective than masking tape. A contamination caused by the use of the amalgam process at the site of
small wad of copper wool (sometimes sold under the name of “Chore the Comstock Lode in Nevada during the nineteenth and early twentieth
Girl”) used for scrubbing pots in the kitchen can also be found to centuries is proof enough of that. The metal per se may do little or no
effectively retrieve spilled mercury. harm, but as it is gradually incorporated into the environment, it is
• Governmental guidelines also suggest that removal of carpeting absorbed by living organisms, such as fish and other marine life, and
may be necessary since cleaning this material is extremely difficult at converted into methylmercury (any of the compounds containing the
best and often is a practical impossibility. CH3Hg complex) and other toxic compounds or vapors. There is already
Practical questions such as central air conditioning and the ability to a lot of mercury out there to convert. In light of the problems associated
adequately ventilate interior rooms should be considered. In short, how with inadvertent mercury exposure from compounds like thiomerosal,
many building occupants will actually go to the trouble of following all do we want to add more?
these guidelines? Commercial establishments subject to OSHA As mercury-containing lamps reach the end of their useful lives,
regulations may be required to do so but will the average homeowner or they must be disposed of. Will their disposal in community landfills
tenant follow suit? create a new source of mercury contamination near each center of
Now this is not to make light of the recommendations for handling population or will recycling be made “consumer friendly” and
breakages involving mercury-containing lamps. In fact, a cleanup carried economically feasible enough that people will actually use it? These
out following these guidelines would very likely protect persons working questions and others should give us pause to re-think our initial question
or living in the vicinity from another hazard, namely the phosphors with regard to increasing the number of mercury-containing lamps. Did
used to coat the inside of the lamps. Some of these are thought to be we really mean to do that? C
toxic or carcinogenic.
So, in an effort to conserve energy, bring operational costs down and 1
See: National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus entry
reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, we have, due “mercury” (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/
to the inexorable operation of the “law of unintended consequences,” 002476.htm).
Riskfrom page 40
Continued CSB Probes Fatal Mill Explosion
from the beach side but the only platform for attack was the street side.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently
done research in this area for high rise structure fires. Wind also has to
T he U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) announced in August
that it will conduct a full investigation of the storage tank
explosion that killed three workers and injured a fourth at a
be considered at industrial locations when planning attack points. An corrugated cardboard mill in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, on July 29.
excellent example is the tank pre-plan published in Hildebrand and The accident occurred as workers were performing welding to
Noll’s text Storage Tank Emergencies. Pads for monitor nozzle trailers repair a flange fitting on top of an 80-foot-tall storage tank, which
were set up for prevailing wind conditions and an alternate attack point contained recycled water and paper fiber. The three workers
was also pre-planned. were standing on a catwalk above the domed, cylindrical tank
This article will continue with a Part 2 in the next issue. Feel free to performing welding when an internal explosion ripped open the
contact this author at John.Frank@xlgroup.com or at +1 404-431 2673.C tank lid. All three workers died of traumatic injuries, including
two who were found on the ground beneath the tank. A fourth,
John Frank, P.E., CFPS is with XL GAPS, a leading loss prevention services who had been observing the work from a further distance, survived
provider and part of the XL group of companies. Through its operating subsidiaries,
XL Capital Ltd (NYSE: XL) is a leading provider of global insurance and reinsurance
with minor injuries.
coverages to industrial, commercial and professional service firms, insurance Among the issues the probe will examine is whether anaerobic
companies, and other enterprises on a worldwide basis. As of September 30, 2007, microbes, which grow in the absence of oxygen and feed on organic
XL Capital Ltd had consolidated assets of approximately $60.9 billion and
consolidated shareholders’ equity of approximately $11.4 billion. More information
matter, produced flammable gas to fuel the explosion. C
about XL Capital Ltd is available at www.xlcapital.com
44 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
Musings from the Chalkboard By WILLIAM R. KERNEY/College of Southern Nevada
f you have been paying attention at all, you are aware of major Now I’m all for the concept of competency-based education (we
changes that are coming down the pipeline regarding EMS. These really have been doing it for years and, after all, we do want them
changes are significant and puzzling in the same breath and can competent, don’t we?) but this creates a real flux when it comes time to
severely impact many of you. While these may not even be fully “set the standards” if you will. For instance, if the new standard
released until 2010 (and of course, textbooks gearing up for shortly recommends the airway component to be set at eight hours (and these
after that!) with an implementation date for some obscure date post hours are purely hypothetical and for example only) and one program
release, we will need to BR ready and able to make these changes when teaches it in eight hours, but another completes it in four and states it
they come about. Notice, I did not say willing. There is already has achieved competency (and might have other variables such as
squawking going on about the new standards and these have been out instructor/student ratio), who is to say one is better than the other or
for review in first and second drafts for some time now. While the noise one is more competent than the other? If it is competency based, then all
has been somewhat loud regarding the changes, the curriculum comes you can judge it on is whether or not the student is competent in the
from a broad and versatile group of individuals representing many big areas necessary.
players in the EMS game, such as the International Association of Fire Okay, so what is the problem with this you ask? If we achieve a
Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and competent provider, where have we made a mistake? The only way that
National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), not to mention the National we have to evaluate the students (or employees if you are a training
Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE). After all of the reviewing director given the task of training your staff) is through examinations,
is completed, they seek to submit the new package to the National both written and practical. Written exams will test the depth and breadth
Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) sometime this of the knowledge base, and the skills exams test, the psychomotor
Fall. component or the hands-on skills we work so hard to teach in a lab
Some of the changes will involve some standardization of the setting.
classifications that seemed to have plagued EMS from the beginning. How do we keep instructors from “teaching to the test?” If I ‘teach
Many will remember EMT Cardiac Rescue Technician (okay, maybe to the test’ will this really give me a measure of any sort of competency
only the REAL old timers for that one), EMT-IV, EMT-D and so on in the skill areas? If I “teach to the test,” will I truly be able to measure
and so forth. Then we went to First Responder, EMT-Basic, EMT- any sort of real depth and breadth of the knowledge base with the core
Intermediate (and for this you used either a 1992 or 1999 curriculum for material? Will my student have any real penetration of the knowledge if
scope of practice) and of course EMTP. Now they want to go with a my only concern is that he passes the exam?
simple 4 category standard with some austere name changes. First This has never created good, sound thinking providers and that is
Responder will become Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), EMT- what we truly want. All we seem to hear is we need them fast, we need
Basic will go back to Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and EMT- them now; you are not doing it fast enough. The hell with quality
Intermediate will become Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (although they don’t come right out and say that…), give us quantity!
(AEMT). Paramedic will remain Paramedic (EMTP). All we care about is that you can crank ‘em out! More, more, more! If
Seems simple enough, right? Well for the name changes, I agree, but they can pass the national exams and pass the skill tests to get their
the real issue will come in with the hours necessary to acquire these certs, we are happy. The topic of good quality providers gets swept
certifications. The words “certification” and “license” seem to be used under the carpet. We ask, “Don’t you want high quality, good EMS
interchangeably in some of the literature, but realize there is a distinct providers?” They respond in the affirmative (how can they not?), but
difference where Project Medical Directors (PMD) “hold” certifications then re-assert, “But ya gotta do it fast!” That is what we are hearing
(and allow you to practice under their license) and where a license is from agencies that need trained personnel. No one is denying the need,
held by a regulatory agency and can be interpreted to be “free-standing.” which is desperate in some areas, but quality cannot be set aside for
It seems that the real drift appears that these are still meant to be speed or quantity.
certifications held by the PMDs although some areas are granting With training facilities having a “sliding scale” for the necessary
licensure at the paramedic level. How that whole process plays with hours, quantity can be substituted for quality. If students can test out,
the PMDs and how they are overseeing and “regulating” licensed then they must be competent, right? An individual being tested may
individuals is still out, but it has been successful in some areas. In know when to perform a certain skill. He may also know how to perform
reality, I do not think it makes a whole lot of difference or will matter if a certain skill, but if he does not know why and does not have the
someone needs a license or certification “pulled.” That can happen in knowledge or the critical thinking skills to back up the how, when, and
the blink of an eye. why, then he is not a health care provider. He is merely a machine
Contact hours for the various levels are also increasing. EMR is trained like a robot. As a robot he is unable to tolerate any variance in
increasing to 48 total hours. EMT is going to 166 to 180 clock hours. the programming. He is stuck “in the box” and cannot climb out of it.
AEMT will now require 140to166 hours and may require an internship Unique patients that present him or her with inconsistent problems
at the conclusion of the didactic and clinical training. Paramedic training that may not fit into the classical mold will not receive the care that they
will come in somewhere at the 1,300 hour mark, but here is the corker need, or worse, may receive substandard care. That is not the kind of
on the whole gig! It is going to be competency-based training and the professional we seek to train in EMS. I not only consider this a detriment
hours are “recommended,” and are not carved in stone. to the profession but dangerous to the public at large. C
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 45
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46 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
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RESPONSE EQUIPMENT 409/727-2347 • Fax 409/745-3021
SKEDCO, INC. NOZZLES
10505 SW Manhasset Drive NATIONAL FOAM - KIDDE FIRE FIGHTING
Tualatin, OR 97062 150 Gordon Drive
503/691-7909 • Fax 503/691-7973 180 Franklin St. Exton, PA 19341
www.skedco.com Framingham, MA 01702 24 Hr. Red AlertTM
www.firecatalog.com • 1-800-729-1482 610/363-1400 • Fax 610/524-9073
Gifts, badges, & accessories for firefighters www.kidde-fire.com
21 Commerce Drive LDH EQUIPMENT
Danbury, CT 06810 HARRINGTON, INC
888/473-6747 • Fax 203/207-9780 2630 West 21st St.
Erie, PA 16506 800/553-0078
HOSE/HOSE COUPLINGS 814/838-3957•Fax 814/838-7339
NATIONAL FOAM - KIDDE FIRE FIGHTING
150 Gordon Drive
Exton, PA 19341 TASK FORCE TIPS, INC.
24 Hr. Red AlertTM Valparaiso, IN 46383 • 800/348-2686
610/363-1400 • Fax 610/524-9073 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.tft.com
www.kidde-fire.com “An American Owned Company.”
TASK FORCE TIPS, INC.
WILLIAMS FIRE & Valparaiso, IN 46383 • 800/348-2686 WILLIAMS FIRE &
HAZARD CONTROL email@example.com • www.tft.com HAZARD CONTROL
P.O. Box 1359 “An American Owned Company.” P.O. Box 1359
Mauriceville, TX 77626 MONITORS Mauriceville, TX 77626
409/727-2347 • Fax 409/745-3021 409/727-2347 • Fax 409/745-3021
HOTELS RESCUE EQUIPMENT- CONFINED SPACE
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT SKEDCO, INC.
3939 State Highway 6 South 10505 SW Manhasset Drive
College Station, TX 77845 P.O. Box 3390
979/695-8111 • P.O. Box 86 • Wooster, OH 44691
Tualatin, OR 97062
Fax 979/695-8228 800/228-1161 • Fax 800/531-7335
firstname.lastname@example.org 800/770-7533 • Fax 503/639-4538
Celebrating 80 Years of Hospitality Excellence
2009 IFW Emergency Responder Conference Specials
• Conference registration at half the cost for five or more 103 S. Main St.
• Company group meeting space available Quakertown, PA 18951-1119
215/536-2991 • Fax 215/538-2164
• Contact email@example.com to make your group’s arrangements. firstname.lastname@example.org •www.quakersafety.com
Visit the IFW Store at
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 47
15-19 Rope Rescue
22-26 Confined Space Rescue
29-Oct. 3 HAZWOPER 40-HR HazMat Technician
6-10 HazMat Chemistry
7-9 HazMat On-Scene Incident Commander
7-10 Entry Level Industrial Firefighter
14-17 Advanced Exterior Industrial Firefighter
48 INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
EDITORIAL BOARD INDUSTRIAL
Richard Coates Mark A. Hawkinson Robert Stegall
Johnson Controls BP America Production Co. Rio Tinto Mineral Co.
Kendall C. Crawford John A. Meleta Tommy Sullivan
Crawford Consulting Associates L.A. County Fire Dept. Capt. (Ret.) Howard County (TX) VFD
Woody Cole Larry Phillips Thomas G. Talley
Calpine Corporation Northwest Region Fire/Rescue Deep South Crane & Rigging Co.
John A. Frank Niall Ramsden Sherrie C. Wilson
XL GAP Services Resource Protection International Dallas Fire Rescue/Emergency
Joseph H. Gross Kenneth Roxberry
Roberts Company, Inc. Premix Inc. Robert J. Wood
SMARTDOCK GEN 2 iEVAC FIRE ESCAPE HOOD AG SERIES GAS BOOSTERS
LifeGuard Technologies®, a division of IMMI, Elmridge Protection Products announces the A new series of –50 ratio gas boosters offering
has announced the introduction of its seat-based introduction of the iEvac® Fire Escape Hood higher flow rates and faster fill times for a wide
SmartDock Gen 2. SmartDock is an innovative is first to earn Certification to the new American range of industrial and military applications
SCBA holder that enables single-motion Standard ANSI/ISEA110. iEvac® protects has been introduced by Haskel International,
insertion of the SCBA and hands-free release, against fire-related risks including toxic gases, Inc. The AG Series air driven gas boosters can
without straps or levers. harmful particulates and life-threatening be oxygen cleaned to meet MIL STD 1330D,
SmartDock is designed to help protect physical hazards. American certification the highest oxygen cleaning standard approved
firefighters by containing the SCBA and involves rigorous independent testing against by the US Navy. The boosters satisfy emerging
preventing it from becoming a projectile in the many challenges including carbon monoxide, requirements for greater gas flow than –30 ratio
event of a collision. The Gen 2 design has one smoke, hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, other units operating at maximum capacity. At the
model number and is engineered so it fits with gases, particulates, fumes, soot, flammability, same time they offer higher gas volumes than –
the majority of SCBAs used in today’s North radiant heat & environmental conditioning. 75 ratio boosters operating at their lowest
American fire departments. With its low Additional testing has been performed by the pressure. For divers and emergency equipment
profile, SmartDock interfaces effectively with US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological operators, this new ratio provides faster fills
a wide variety of fire apparatus seats. Center. The iEvac® contains a HEPA filter at higher pressures for recently developed
SmartDock was launched in September that removes more than 99.97% of sub-micron smaller, lightweight bottles. It is also designed
2006. When evaluated to the NFPA 1901 particles such as anthrax, smallpox & for high flow production applications. The
Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, radioactive particles; also protects against boosters provide outlet pressures up to 15,000
SmartDock Gen 2 met requirements for ammonia, chlorine, phosphine & more. One psi (1,034 bar) with built-in cooling. They
retaining both the cylinder and the pack in universal size can be put on in 30 seconds. require no electricity or airline lubrication. With
dynamic testing. Easy-to-breathe dual-cartridges, compact, assured separation between the air drive and
SmartDock Gen 2 will be available for lightweight, vacuum sealed in a foil bag for a gas booster sections, they are hydrocarbon free.
purchase in the fall of 2008. For information long shelf life. High visibility reflective strips Units are available in various configurations of
on availability, contact LifeGuard for easy recognition. Unobstructed view with single stage-single acting, single stage-double
Technologies® at 866-765-5835 or visit eyeglasses. Visit www.elmridgeprotection.com acting and two-stage models. Call 1-818-843-
lifeguardtechnologies.com. or call 561.244.8337 4000 or visit www. haskel.com.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008 49
Preparing Make plans to attend the 24th Industrial
Fire World Emergency Responder
yourself Conference & Exposition
and your • Receive a FREE general admission pass to the IFW conference with a 3-
year subscription to Industrial Fire World magazine. Subscribe online at
• Group rates for ½ price are available! Complete the Corporate Sponsor
Form on Page 5.
with • Schedule space for your corporate meeting while your chiefs are in one
place. Contact IFW at (979)690-7559.
top value, • Interact with industry professionals for certification and training on
emergency issues to help you excel as an industrial emergency responder.
top quality Visit www.fireworld.com for more information about these 2009 IFW
& • ASSE Seminar*
• CFPS Prep Course & Exam*
top training • Fire Instructor I*
• Flammable Liquids/Storage Tank Fire Protection
• Incident Safety Officer Certified Training*
• LNG Symposium
• New Standards & Technologies
• NFPA 1005: Marine Fire Fighting for Land-based Firefighters*
• NFPA 1081: Leadership Training*
• NIMS 300: Intermediate Incident Command System*
• NIMS 400: Advanced Incident Command System*
• Pre-Emergency Planning for Industrial Facilities
* Fee-added workshop
ProBoard or IFSAC certification courses are italicized.
INDUSTRIAL FIRE WORLD
CONFERENCE & EXPO
March 23 - 27, 2009
Industrial Fire World
emerged 23 years ago
for you, the industrial
based on the expertise of
IFW publisher David
White. He and other
leading experts gather
each year at the IFW
conference to address
cutting edge issues that
face industrial fire and
managers and personnel.
Make sure that your
through certified and
informational sessions at
P.O. Box 9161 • College Station, TX 77845 • PH# 979.690.7559 • FX# 979.690.7562 • E-MAIL email@example.com • www.fireworld.com