City of Beaumont 'permanently' closes fire school flooded by Hurricane Harvey

    Flame City is no more. Officially known today as the Beaumont (TX) Emergency Safety Training complex, the 70-acre facility founded in 1966 that ranked as one of the country’s foremost industrial fire training schools has closed after sustaining heavy flood damage from Hurricane Harvey.   Other than a notice on the homepage of the fire school website that the BEST complex has “permanently closed,” the International Safety Training Council, a non-profit organization that managed the facility has chosen not to comment.   Located southeast of downtown Beaumont on the banks of the Neches River, the BEST complex appears relatively untouched today. However, damage to buildings and contents indicates that water stood as deep as seven feet during the August flooding.   Chris Boone, Beaumont’s director of planning and community development, confirmed that the city council voted in October to release ISTC from a 30-year lease agreement to operate the...
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TFT introduces portable gross decontamination system to help mitigate firefighter cancer risk

Valparaiso, IN:  Task Force Tips has introduced the DECON/pak, a self-contained agent proportioning and rinse application system developed specifically for gross decontamination of firefighting personnel donned with gear and their equipment. Throughout 2017, TFT field-tested the DECON/pak at fire stations and training academies across the nation. The feedback received helped to refine the final version into an easy to deploy system to perform gross decon operations at the fire scene.    The DECON/pak uses a simple 3 step process:    1) Add Cleaning Agent,   2) Connect to Hoseline,      3) Wash/Scrub/Rinse. Studies show that field decon using soap, water and brush can reduce cancer causing contamination on turnout gear by 85percent.  The system includes a 2.5 gallon container for detergent, 12 foot hose with fan spray nozzle, and a simple built-in eductor that allows water from the truck to be used in a mix or rinse application.   According to...
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Massive government recall covers 37.8 million fire extinguishers

The federal government is launching a massive fire extinguisher recall. It covers nearly 40 million Kidde extinguishers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says 37.8 million fire extinguishers might not work during an emergency.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .    
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Video shows waterspout tearing off roof at Mississippi refinery

Pascagoula, MS -   Officials expressed concerns over flooded streets and rising rivers Sunday after thunderstorms pelted the Mississippi Coast.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE . To see video of the storm, CLICK HERE .
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Chemical Safety Board releases safety video detailing 2016 Baton Rouge explosion

Washington, D.C. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released an eight minute safety video entitled “Fire in Baton Rouge” detailing the CSB’s Key Lessons stemming from the 2016 fire at the ExxonMobil Refinery that seriously injured four workers. The CSB’s latest video includes a new four minute animation explaining the events leading up to the incident.     The fire occurred when operators inadvertently removed bolts that secured a piece of pressure-containing equipment to a type of valve known as a plug valve. When the operators then attempted to open the valve, it came apart and released flammable isobutane, which formed a vapor cloud that quickly ignited.   In the video Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “During our investigation, the CSB learned that the operators attempting to open the plug valve were following accepted practices within the refinery. Our safety bulletin addresses the need for companies to be vigilant with their...
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Feds say Indiana refinery engineer sent pipe bomb to East Chicago post office, threatening letter with bullet

Hammond, IN - A BP engineer, who ran two failed campaigns as a political outsider in Lake County, was arrested Thursday by the FBI for allegedly sending a threatening letter with a bullet enclosed to a Hammond worker and attempting to mail a pipe bomb Sept. 6 to a Hammond attorney. A BP engineer, who ran two failed campaigns as a political outsider in Lake County, was arrested Thursday by the FBI for allegedly sending a threatening letter with a bullet enclosed to a Hammond worker and attempting to mail a pipe bomb Sept. 6 to a Hammond attorney.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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TEEX industrial fire school helps keep Texas summer hot

  Zach Slapak of the Painesville Township (OH) Fire Department was only a week away from attending the annual Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service Industrial Fire School in July when his town played host to an industrial fire that made national news. “The company involved makes metallic effect pigments and pearlescent pigments,” Slapak said. “There were all sorts of metal shavings involved.” It took Painesville and 15 other fire agencies nearly 4½ hours to bring the fire under control. Multiple explosions were heard inside the burning plant.   Aside from the pigments plant, Painesville’s industrial base includes a Lubrizol facility for manufacturing chemical additives used in lubricants. A Painesville responder is always included among Lubrizol firefighters attending the industrial school in Texas. “Lubrizol has been paying to send one of our firefighters here every summer for the last 20 years,” Slapak said. The industrial fire school, held July 16 through the...
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Harvey and its aftermath

Meteorologists tracked Harvey from its inception in mid-August as a low pressure atmospheric trough to its final remnants dissipating over Lake Erie. During its terrible two-week rampage it grew into the most intense hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in 12 years, killing 83 people and causing nearly $70 billion in damages. However, for everyone other than the weather bureau, the possibility of anything as brutal as Harvey hitting the Gulf Coast was completely off the radar. The storm, lingering overhead nearly four days, dropped more than 40 inches of rain across a wide swath of Texas. The resulting floods inundated thousands of homes and businesses. Harvey officially stands as the wettest tropical hurricane on record to ever hit the lower 48, displacing more than 30,000 people. Developing worst-case scenarios is a common form of strategic planning. So whoever plans for potential disasters considers the most severe possible outcome that...
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Australian property tycoon admits setting fire to his own factory

Welshpool, Australia - Hossean Pourzand has pleaded guilty to the arson of a Welshpool property which burned to the ground earlier this year, and an attempted $20 million insurance fraud stemming from the fire. Hossean Pourzand has pleaded guilty to the arson of a Welshpool property which burned to the ground earlier this year, and an attempted $20 million insurance fraud stemming from the fire. Hossean Pourzand has pleaded guilty to the arson of a Welshpool property which burned to the ground earlier this year, and an attempted $20 million insurance fraud stemming from the fire.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Failures of floating roof tanks during Harvey raise concerns

      As Hurricane Harvey swept across the Houston area, torrential waves of rain built on top of crude oil storage tanks at Valero Energy's Houston refinery, causing one of the roofs that float atop the oil to flip almost on its side and release more than 235,000 pounds of toxic vapors and other pollutants into the atmosphere. As Hurricane Harvey swept across the Houston area, torrential waves of rain built on top of crude oil storage tanks at Valero Energy's Houston refinery, causing one of the roofs that float atop the oil to flip almost on its side and release more than 235,000 pounds of toxic vapors and other pollutants into the atmosphere.           To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .    
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Texas fire departments hit by Hurricane Harvey ask for help

Sept. 27, 2017 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas —  Officials from key fire service organizations of Texas are asking for equipment and monetary donations to help local Texas fire departments impacted by Hurricane Harvey.   Texas A&M Forest Service, State Firefighters’ and Fire Marshals’ Association, Texas Fire Chiefs Association, Texas Interstate Fire Mutual Aid System, and State Fire Marshal’s Office, officials deployed a Rapid Fire Department Assessment Tool to determine needs and damage to local fire departments following Hurricane Harvey. Base assessments have been conducted on 309 fire departments in 36 counties, with an estimated 64 fire departments still to be completed.     Currently, 145 fire apparatus have been confirmed as damaged or destroyed. Twenty-four fire stations were completely destroyed and hundreds more have wind and water damage. Hundreds of sets of protective clothing, over 50 SCBA (breathing apparatus), multiple SCBA refill stations, hydraulic rescue tool and other rescue tools have...
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CSB releases final report into 2016 refinery fire that seriously injured four workers

September 18, 2017, Washington, D.C.  - At a public business meeting in Washington, DC, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a safety bulletin on the November 22, 2016 fire that severely burned four workers at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   The fire occurred during maintenance activities when operators inadvertently removed bolts that secured a piece of pressure-containing equipment to a plug valve. When the operators attempted to open the plug valve, the valve came apart and released flammable hydrocarbons, which formed a vapor cloud that quickly ignited.   Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Our investigation found that these accepted practices were conducted without appropriate safety hazard analysis, needlessly injuring these workers. It is important to remember that good safety practices are good maintenance practices and good business practices.”   A key safety lesson discussed in the bulletin is the “hierarchy of controls.” This is a method of evaluating...
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Fuel tank failures spill 145,000 gallons during Harvey

More than two dozen storage tanks holding crude oil, gasoline and other contaminants ruptured or otherwise failed when Harvey slammed into the Texas coast, spilling at least 145,000 gallons (548,868 liters) of fuel and spewing toxic pollutants into the air, according to an Associated Press analysis of pollution reports submitted to state and federal regulators.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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US floods rescue workers sue over chemical plant fire

Crosby, TX - Seven emergency workers who responded to the aftermath of last month's mega-storm Harvey sued chemical company Arkema Thursday for exposing them to smoke from a fire at its flooded Texas plant.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .    
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200-plus Virginia plant workers laid off following fire

CULPEPER, VA — More than 200 people learned last week that they were officially being laid off from their jobs at Communications Corporation of America in Culpeper, the large direct mail printing facility destroyed in a fire Aug. 26.   To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
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Coast Guard tests new oil spill technology as Arctic waters open up

In late July, the Aqua-Guard Triton RotoX dipped into the icy Beaufort Sea. The goal was to test whether the prototype could clean up an oil spill in the Arctic. To read article, CLICK HERE      
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CSB orders investigation into chemical plant fire in Crosby, TX

An investigation of the Arkema chemical plant emergency in Crosby, TX has been initiated by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board but will not move forward until the emergency has been resolved, a CSB official said Thursday. In a press release, CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said the agency had been closely monitoring events related to Hurricane Harvey. "All of us at the CSB have been watching the events in the Gulf Coast region over the last several days and join in our prayerful hopes for the recovery and restoration of the region," Sutherland said. "We have two employees of the CSB who are based in the Houston area, and we are grateful that they and their families are safe." Specifically, the CSB is initiating an investigation of the Arkema emergency. The plant, which manufactures organic peroxides, lost refrigeration to all its cold-storage warehouses after power went out and the backup generators...
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Texas Gulf Coast faces repeat of 2001 Tropical Storm Allison disaster

EDITORS NOTE: With Hurricane Harvey barrelling toward the Texas Gulf Coast, it might be time to remember a similar emergency in 2001 that raised havoc with the petroleum industry. The following article is taken from the book "Disasters Man-Made," written by David White and Anton Riecher.   TROPICAL STORM ALLISON set the stage for one of the seminal events in modern industrial fire fighting – the successful extinguishment of a burning jumbo storage tank with substantial product saved. Every firefighter who participated in this breakthrough can claim a piece of the history making story.   “The thing I will remember about this fire is the dedication shown by the firefighters, the teamwork and their ability to shift to a higher gear even when they were tired,” said J.R. Chidester, fire chief for the Orion Oil refinery complex in Norco, LA.   Dwight Williams, contracted by Orion to assist Chidester, specializes in...
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Dubai's Marina Torch Tower ablaze again

  Flames scorched a path up nearly two-thirds of Dubai’s 87-story Marina Torch Tower Friday in the spectacular repeat of a February 2015 blaze that swept along the exterior of the fifth tallest residential building in the world.     That earlier fire earned the cover of the Spring 2015 issue of Industrial Fire World.   According to Dubai Civil Defence, the fire Friday broke out on the 26th floor shortly before 1 a.m. Dubai time. In slightly over an hour, the fire crept up 64 stories of the building’s exterior, damaging 38 apartments in the process. Interior damage was also reported on the 83rd and 84th floors.   Firefighters were able to evacuated 475 residents with no injuries reported, authorities said. No cause has been reported for the fire.   In the 2015 fire, an official with Dubai Civil Defense said evidence at the scene left little doubt that the...
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Pierce introduces high flow industrial fire apparatus at Fire Rescue International

Pierce Manufacturing’s newest fire truck, the Pierce® High Flow Industrial Apparatus, is capable of flowing 5,500 gallons per minute when drafting, and up to 10,000 gallons per minute when drawing from a pressurized water source. The vehicle was formally introduced to the public in July at Fire Rescue International in Charlotte, NC.   Shortly before that, the vehicle was demonstrated at the annual Texas Industrial Fire School at Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, TX.     In emergency scenarios, when an industrial pumper is called into action, maximum water and foam flow are the top priorities, said Matt McLeish, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing of the Fire & Emergency segment.   “That’s exactly what we’ve accomplished with the new Pierce High Flow Industrial Apparatus – its numbers are off the charts, and set the new performance benchmark,” he said. “Equally important, however, is the firefighting system’s endurance,...
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