Issue Date: April 21, 2008
Chemical Waste site Fire codes
A Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board accident report released last week concludes that new national fire code provisions and more plant-specific information for local emergency planners are needed to block chemical fires at hazardous waste facilities. Those conclusions stem from an investigation of an accident that took place at Environmental Quality Co., a small hazardous waste transfer facility in Apex, N.C. On the night of Oct. 5, 2006, a plant fire, fueled by unspent aircraft oxygen generators and a mix of debris and cardboard containers of solid chlorine-based pool chemicals, sent fireballs hundreds of feet into the air and resulted in the evacuation of 3,300 homes for two days. The fire ran unabated because the plant had no automatic fire control equipment and workers had left for the night. It was further fueled by flammable and corrosive wastes, paints, and pesticides stored in bays separated only by a 6-inch-high curb. When emergency personnel arrived, they held back, wary and unsure of what had caused the fire and explosion, CSB reports. Among its recommendations, CSB urges that fire codes for waste facilities be developed, waste facilities report to local officials what they handle, and oxygen generators be discharged and disabled before transportation. The report and a safety video on the fire and evacuation are available at www.csb.gov.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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