U.S. Chemical Safety Board to investigate deadly fire at Texas plant

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The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Wednesday it will be investigating the KMCO chemical plant fire in Crosby, which killed one person and left two others injured. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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Dwight Williams comes out of retirement to take a key role in the ITC extinguishment

Dwight Dwight Williams
By ANTON RIECHER/IFW EDITOR Rumors regarding the retirement of Dwight Williams, one of the leading figures in large-volume flammable liquid storage firefighting, have been greatly exaggerated if the March 20 th extinguishment of the massive Intercontinental Terminals Co. fire in Deer Park, TX is any indication. “Well, I guess I lied,” Williams said. Williams, who stepped down as head of Williams Fire and Hazard Control in September 2011, took a major role in the joint effort to put out the stubborn 64-hour blaze that spread through petrochemical products in and around 15 storage tanks and unleashed black smoke visible in satellite photographs stretching as far west as Austin. US FIRE PUMP ESTABLISHES ITSELF AS MAJOR INDUSTRIAL RESPONDER - CHECK OUT THE SPRING ISSUE OF IFW MAGAZINE He ranked the Deer Park emergency as among the worst in a career that includes the M/V Jupiter tanker fire in 1990 in Michigan, the...
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Louisiana fire company praised for extinguishing Texas plant fire

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards praised Louisiana-owned US Fire Pump for their efforts to help contain and extinguish a petrochemical plant fire that had been roaring for nearly two days in Deer Park, Texas. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE ................................................. LA PORTE, Texas; Thursday, March 22, 2019 – (UPDATE) – Tanks in the west side of the containment area have re-ignited. ................ The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will investigate the recent fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) site in Deer Park, TX. CSB investigators will start interviews next week and plan to be on site for several days to document the scene and collect evidence. The massive fire, which began on March 17 th,  engulfed 11 above ground storage tanks containing a variety of hydrocarbons, resulting in multiple orders for community members to Shelter in Place.  ------------------------------------ LA PORTE, Texas; Thursday, March 21, 2019...
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78 killed in explosion at Chinese chemical plant

easternChina Hundreds of rescuers have been dispatched to the scene of the facility run by Tianjiayi Chemical
Yancheng, China - The death toll from a chemical plant that exploded in eastern China rose to 78 as rescuers continue to discover bodies among the rubble. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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Houston Ship Channel remains closed in the wake of ITC fire

webcover Photo by Kevin Brost
UPDATE - March 26 Unified Command continues clean-up operations at the Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC (ITC) facility, Tucker Bayou and Houston Ship Channel near Deer Park, Texas. Since March 19, 2019, more than 1,100 federal, state and local first responders, agencies, and environmental cleanup contractors have been on the scene and actively assessing, booming and continuing to remove product from affected areas. We continue to pump liquid out of tank 80-7 and have less than 6 inches (approximately 1,122 barrels or 47,127 gallons) remaining in the tank. The remaining liquid is mostly water. ITC operational personnel are currently transferring product from 80-14 and will continue transferring product from tank 80-10 to tank 80-18 until tanks 80-14 and 80-10 are empty. Tank 80-15 is empty. We are still pumping product from the ditch using vacuum trucks and hoses. That product is being transferred to tank 100-28. We are still foaming the tank...
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USDOT announces safety rule to strengthen oil train spill response preparedness

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WASHINGTON  –  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), today issued a final rule that requires railroads to develop and submit Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans for route segments traveled by High Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs).  The rule applies to HHFTs that are transporting petroleum oil in a block of 20 or more loaded tank cars and trains that have a total of 35 loaded petroleum oil tank cars.  “This new rule will make the transport of energy products by railroad safer,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. The rule revises the oil spill response plan requirements currently in place to require railroads to establish geographic response zones along various rail routes and ensure that both personnel and equipment are staged and prepared to respond in the event of an accident.  Furthermore, railroads are required to...
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Chemical Safety Board again targeted in Trump’s proposed budget

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The Trump administration’s budget proposal will again call for eliminating the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, an independent federal agency that investigates major industrial accidents, according to Bloomberg News. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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Financier, three others held for chemical factory fire in India

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A Borivli financier and three ithers with criminal records were arrested for allegedly setting ablaze a chemical factory in Kashimira, India, in February. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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2 Kansas companies indicted over noxious chemical cloud

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Two companies were indicted Wednesday on federal charges after a mistake at a northeast Kansas distilling plant in 2016 released a noxious cloud of fumes that prosecutors say caused more than 140 people to seek medical treatment. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE TO READ THE CSB PRELIMINARY REPORT, CLICK HERE
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ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty and take remedial measures to resolve Clean Air Act violations stemming from deadly fire at Texas refinery

Beaumont STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise
The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation (ExxonMobil) today to resolve federal Clean Air Act claims arising from a 2013 fire at the company’s oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas that killed two employees and injured ten others.  In a complaint filed today with the settlement, the United States alleges that the company violated Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act, which requires measures to prevent accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances that can have serious public health and environmental consequences.  The April 17, 2013, fire at the refinery occurred when workers used a torch to remove bolts from the top, or “head,” of a device called a heat exchanger.  The torch ignited hydrocarbons released from the head.  EPA’s inspection following the incident disclosed violations of Section 112(r) and of the regulations known as the Chemical Accident Prevention provisions.  “The deaths...
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Manager knew safety concerns at Eastern Montana oil plant that exploded

Montana This photo provided by Wibaux County Disaster and Emergency Services, shows an eastern Montana oil recycling facility destroyed by an explosion and a fire in 2012 outside of Wibaux. Three workers were injured in the explosion.
PHOEBE TOLLEFSON/Billings (MT) Gazette Before a gas explosion consumed an Eastern Montana waste plant in 2012, the plant’s manager acknowledged the building was so poorly wired and ventilated that “we run the risk of killing someone.” TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
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IRECA: June conference expands competition

Smith Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX is an internationally recognized emergency response training center.
Offering something a little different every year has been the guiding principle behind planning the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association conference. However, the 71st Annual Conference & Challenges being held June 17 through 21, 2019 in College Station, TX represents a more ambitious leap for IRECA. With Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Brayton Fire Training Field and Disaster City® as its location, the conference is expanding the number of teams competing in its rescue challenges from six to 12, said past IRECA president and conference chairman Gary Leafblad.  “Doubling the number of teams in one year represents a big gamble for us,” Leafblad said. The last IRECA conference was conducted in Boise, ID using the Amalgamated Sugar refinery as the setting for the challenges involving seven-member technical rescue teams and four-member first response rescue teams. There was also a basic life support challenge open to three-member level teams. Moving...
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Back in Business: Texas fire school resumes summer industrial training

IRTFtank Fire foam demonstration using IRTF's 42-foot-diameter storage tank prop.
By ANTON RIECHER/IFW Editor Beginning in the late 1960s Beaumont, TX played host to a summer training school attended by industrial firefighters across the state and, eventually, from around the world. Then, in 2004, that tradition was set aside by a new regime at the Beaumont fire school. David Owens with Industrial Rescue, operator of the recently reopened school, plans to resume the annual event beginning in May 2019. “It’s a big deal for us to get that going again,” Owens said. “It will give all the local emergency response companies around here the opportunity to train together again.” Scheduled for May 6 through 10, the summer school will offer training in interior and exterior firefighting, rescue, leadership and other topics important to emergency response teams. “I’ve talked to most of the players out there and they’re all excited about being a part of it,” Owens said. “Most of them started...
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Worker nearly consumed by huge fire that bursts out of cotton yarn

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Dongguan, China - This is the terrifying moment a worker was engulfed in massive flames that suddenly burst out of some cotton yarn rolls on a truck in southern China. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.
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Class Act: Firefighters change training schedule to accommodate Bush funeral

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Former President George H.W. Bush, 94, was laid to rest Dec. 6 at his presidential library in College Station, TX. His death was a tragedy for the nation and played havoc with the planned schedule for the winter Hellfighter U fire training at the nearby Brayton Fire Training Field. “We’re forced into scrambling the agenda and rearranging the curriculum in a sequence we’ve never utilized before,” Hellfighter U director Frank Bateman said. The changes also meant sacrificing a portion of the open discussion time to discuss such hot button issues as prioritizing performance and firefighter safety in the controversy concerning firefighting foam and the environment. “What I say is if you’re going to put your life on the line using firefighting foam, make sure it performs,” Bateman said. “I want to incorporate that into the criteria for foam testing.” PHOS-CHEK ™ , the company behind Hellfighter U, offers a full range...
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This week marks 20th anniversary of deadly chemical plant blast in Pennsylvania

conceptscience The destroyed Concept Sciences building and damaged other buildings in the Hanover Township industrial park.
Twenty years ago this week a chemical plant explosion in Pennsylvania killed five and injured six, becoming one of the first major investigations conducted by the newly established U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. The explosion occurred at Concept Sciences Inc., near Allentown, PA, on February 19, 1999. As a result of the explosion four Concept Sciences employees and the manager of an adjacent business were killed. Two Concept Sciences employees were injured, as were four people in nearby buildings. The explosion damaged ten buildings and several residences in the immediate area. The case study found that the explosion was most likely due to high concentration and temperature in a process vessel containing several hundred pounds of hydroxylamine, a potentially explosive chemical used in the manufacture of semiconductors. Concept Sciences' process safety management systems were insufficient to properly address the hazards inherent in its manufacturing process. The case study added...
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Companies quietly install gunfire-detection systems at U.S. offices and factories

gunfire A vigil was held Sunday for five people killed in a shooting Friday at a Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing plant in Aurora, Ill. (Reuters)
By CHIP CUTTER/Wall Street Journal Corporate executives worried about workplace shootings are quietly installing gunfire-detection systems in U.S. offices and factories. Most don’t tell employees what the sensors are, for fear of alarming them. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.
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EPA announces PFAS environmental action plan

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced EPA’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan. It responds to extensive public interest and input the agency has received over the past year and represents the first time EPA has built a multi-media, multi-program, national communication and research plan to address an emerging environmental challenge like PFAS. Concern about PFAS is central to the continuing controversy over the use of fluorinated chemicals in firefighting foam. EPA’s Action Plan identifies both short-term solutions for addressing these chemicals and long-term strategies that will help provide the tools and technologies states, tribes, and local communities need to provide clean and safe drinking water to their residents and to address PFAS at the source—even before it gets into the water. “The PFAS Action Plan is the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical of concern ever undertaken by EPA,” said EPA Acting...
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Asst. Chief Bob Royall earns lifetime emergency management award

royal Asst. Chief Bob Royall was awarded the Emergency Management Association of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award In San Marcos.
By BRYAN KIRK/Patch HARRIS COUNTY, TX -- Harris County Fire Marshal's Office (HCFMO) Assistant Chief Bob Royall was awarded the Emergency Management Association of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 2019 EMAT Leadership Symposium in San Marcos, TX. TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.
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Dozens to be punished over China explosion that killed 19

yibin The blast in Yibin Hengda Technology Co. in Jiang'an County
POST ONLINE MEDIA Around 60 people are to be punished for their roles in a chemical plant explosion that killed 19 workers and injured 12 in southwest China's Sichuan Province last July, according to a report from the Xinhua news agency. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.
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