The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has released its final report of the June 27, 2016, investigation of an explosion and fire at the Enterprise Products Pascagoula Gas Plant in Pascagoula, MS. The CSB determined that the probable cause was a phenomenon known as thermal fatigue. The CSB also issued recommendations to two trade associations and local emergency responders. The incident occurred late in the evening on June 27, 2016, when a major loss of containment in a heat exchanger resulted in the release of methane, ethane, propane, and several other hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbons ignited, initiating a series of fires and explosions, which ultimately shut down the site for almost six months. CSB Interim Executive Kristen Kulinowski said, “More than 500 gas processing facilities operate across the country and the use of similar heat exchangers is common. Extending the life cycle of equipment at these facilities requires more robust inspection protocols. Operators shouldn’t...
Oklahoma City, OK, August 16, 2018 - Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the January 22, 2018, blowout and fire at the Pryor Trust Gas Well located in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, that killed five workers. The CSB has determined the incident occurred shortly after drilling crew members removed the drill pipe from the well in a process known as “tripping.” To date, the CSB’s investigation has determined the following timeline related to the blowout and fire: • January 21, 2018: Crew members from the Patterson-UTI Drilling Company had been drilling a gas well for over a week. Activities were being overseen by the operator of the well, Red Mountain Operating, LLC (or RMO) in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma. • At 3:36 pm, the Patterson crew stopped drilling to remove the drill pipe from the well and change...
Superior, Wisconsin, August 2, 2018: Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the April 26, 2018, explosion and subsequent fires at the Husky Superior Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The initial explosion occurred in the refinery’s Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) at approximately 10:00 am while the refinery was shutting down the FCCU for periodic maintenance and inspection. To date the CSB has determined the following: The explosion took place during a planned maintenance shutdown of the refinery FCCU. The incident occurred during a scheduled break time and many workers previously in the unit before the explosion had moved either into blast resistant buildings or away from the process unit. One piece of debris from the explosion flew about 200 feet, and struck a large, nearby, aboveground storage tank containing about 50,000 barrels of asphalt. The side of the tank was punctured,...
Superior, WI - Following an explosion and fire in April, Husky Energy says its Superior refinery is not expected to resume normal operations until 2020. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE. .
Detroit, MI - Dinged by slumping China sales and a fire at a U.S. parts factory, Ford Motor Co.'s second-quarter net profit fell 48 percent from a year ago. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE. .
Rather than race to the scene, Superior, WI Fire Chief Steve Panger went straight to fire department headquarters when an April 26 refinery explosion rocked the community. Planning for an emergency response on the scale required that day had long been in place, he said. “I knew we’d have callback crews of off-duty personnel reporting immediately,” Panger said. “My immediate job was to manage those crews and cover the fire stations emptied by the initial response to the blast.” As the incident progressed and the stations were backfilled, Panger would move to the command post already set up by Husky Energy personnel. The explosion in a fluid catalytic cracking unit triggered an ongoing fire at the 38,000 bpd refinery that burned for the next eight hours, forcing an evacuation of Superior, population 27,000. Those residents were not allowed to return until the following morning. At the time of the blast, the...
Houston, TX, May 24, 2018: The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final investigation report into the August 31, 2017, fire at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. In the days leading up to the incident, an unprecedented amount of rain fell at the plant due to Hurricane Harvey, causing equipment to flood and fail. As a result, chemicals stored at the plant decomposed and burned, releasing fumes and smoke into the air. CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Our investigation found that there is a significant lack of guidance in planning for flooding or other severe weather events. Based on other government reports, we know that there is a greater likelihood of more severe weather across the country. As we prepare for this year’s hurricane season, it is critical that industry better understand the safety hazards posed by extreme weather events.” The Arkema chemical plant...
A four-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to an incident that reportedly injured 21 workers at the Kuraray America facility in Pasadena, Texas on Saturday morning. The facility manufactures ethylene vinyl-alcohol copolymers, sold as EVALTM. Kuraray America is a Tokyo-based specialty chemical manufacturer. A press release issued by Kuraray states that at the time of the incident, 266 employees and contract personnel were onsite as part of a turnaround with heavy maintenance activities. All have been accounted for. Twenty-one individuals were transported to off-site medical facilities for treatment. Preliminary findings indicate a pressure safety valve released ethylene causing a flash fire in one of our process units. The company continues to work with authorities to complete the investigation. The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical incidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by...
The parts shortage that cut production at Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler has forced Mercedes-Benz to stop building sport-utility vehicles at its assembly plant in Vance, Alabama, the German automaker confirmed. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A supplier fire in Michigan last week is pinching production of the F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., but the impact is expected to be minimal for both Ford Motor Co. and its dealers. To read the entire article, CLICK HERE .
For most industrial emergency responders, “Disasters Man-Made” is something to read in your leisure time – whenever that is. But at the CHS Refinery in Laurel, MT, Emergency Response Coordinator Keith Metzger makes reading the book mandatory for his ERT. “I issued the book to my leadership team and others,” Metzger said. “I assign them a chapter each month. Then we hold a meeting where they highlight any areas of interest that might apply to us here.” “Disasters Man-Made,” written by David White and Anton Riecher, documents 31 post-World War II industrial emergencies that still hold lessons for us today. Published in 2011, the book cover dramatic events ranging from epic fires and hazardous materials spills to less headline-grabbing but crucial incidents that still raised havoc for emergency responders. Besides world-class refinery fires, the litany of industrial woes listed include a water-sensitive magnesium fire, an overtuned barge leaking acid,...
A recently sold Sutphen SAI-110-foot aerial was only one of four industrial fire apparatus utilized in live-fire training scenarios in December during the Hellfighter U foam fire school at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas. The original game plan was to use the aerial to rescue a fallen firefighter from one of the higher elevations of Brayton’s chemical complex, a full-scale, live-fire simulation of an emergency in a multi-level industrial structure, said Jim Kirvida, factory representative for Wisconsin-based Custom Fire. “We were going to rescue the little dummy made up from hose lines and old bunker gear,” he said. “ Making the situation even more dramatic, the training was done at night. Unfortunately, what Kirvida arrived with was a “straight stick” aerial with no platform at the end. “You can do rescues using an aerial without a platform but it takes more equipment than was immediately available,” Kirvida said. Plans were...
When an entrepreneur leaves a business he has built over a lifetime, many things change. The market can get better or worse, said Dwight Williams, one of the highly regarded innovators in industrial firefighting today. “It’s apparent to me that there is room for a foam manufacturer who makes a premiere product,” Williams told the audience at the U.S. Fire Pump “Big Water” Symposium in November In Baton Rouge. Williams, who retired in 2012, announced from the podium his new partnership with Auxquimia Fire Fighting Products of Spain to introduce a “signature” brand to the firefighting foam market that will bear his name. “That’s been my motto since 1969,” Williams said. “If you can’t put your name on it, don’t build it.” He said he expects Auxquimia to have the new brand ready by January 17, his birthday. Among the few details about the new...
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 .
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...
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 .
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...
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...
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,...