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202209OctAll DayBASF (Wilton) Fire 1995BASF Wilton (GB)Lessons:Asset integrity,Emergency Preparedness,Risk Assessment,Stakeholder EngagementIndustry:WarehouseCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Fire exposure Origin: HSE Incident:FIREHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite At Risk)Effects:EnvironmentalMaterial:PropyleneTopics:Occupied Buildings
At approximately 0400 hrs on the 9th October 1995 the fire alarm sounded in ICI’s Wilton Site Emergency Services Control Centre, alerting of a fire in the BASF warehouse which
At approximately 0400 hrs on the 9th October 1995 the fire alarm sounded in ICI’s Wilton Site Emergency Services Control Centre, alerting of a fire in the BASF warehouse which was used for storing polypropylene finished products. Almost an hour later a major emergency on the site was declared and the full on-site emergency plan initiated. The fire generated a large black plume of smoke, although this was declared non-toxic. Police alerted the public situated down wind of the fire to stay indoors and to close windows. The ‘Redcar’ trunk road was closed and employees of adjacent companies, including those on-site, were advised not to report to work.
The warehouse facility met the building regulations and was equipped with a range of fire safety features. This included fire doors, operated both by fusible links and smoke detection, which failed to close during the fire. No cause was established for this. However, it may have been attributed to the fact that the warehouse did not become completely smoke logged, as smoke was vented through the roof. Hence, the smoke failed to activate the detectors, which would have closed the doors.
No direct root causes for the fire was determined. However, the results of the investigation by BASF and the Cleveland County Fire Brigade suggests the probable cause was a fluorescent light fitting overheating, causing the ignition of its Perspex refectory which dropped flaming molten plastic onto stored product below. The warehouse lighting was in continuous use.
No injuries or ill health were reported.
The perceived risk was low and therefore no formal risk assessment for dealing with a major fire for the warehouse was undertaken. Following the incident it took several days to re-establish the inventory and its layout, as all local records were destroyed in the fire.
Because the warehouse was sited in the middle of the ICI complex there was potential for escalation into a much more serious event. The incident clearly highlighted the value of having a well-defined emergency plan and procedures in place as well as trained personal to execute it.
• EMERGENCY RESPONSE / SPILL CONTROL
• PLANT LAYOUT
• ACTIVE / PASSIVE FIRE PROTECTION
Image Credit: Cleveland Fire Brigade
202214DecAll DayNational Freight Consortium Fire 1984National Freight Consortium Sheffield (GB)Industry:WarehouseCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Fire exposure Origin: HSE Incident:FIREHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite At Risk)Effects:EnvironmentalMaterial:Various
On 14 December 1984 fire broke out in a furniture repository in Sheffield which formed part of a very large warehouse and transit shed building occupied by the National Freight
On 14 December 1984 fire broke out in a furniture repository in Sheffield which formed part of a very large warehouse and transit shed building occupied by the National Freight Consortium plc. In two days the fire destroyed the whole warehouse, with the exception of one protection section. It involved the attendance of several hundred fireman over a total period of six days.
Among the wide variety of goods stored in the building was a relatively small tonnage of chemicals. Concern was expressed during and after the fire about the difficulty experienced by the Fire Brigade in identifying the possible risks from the materials stored, followed by allegations by the Fire Brigades’ Union that firemen had been unnecessarily exposed to harmful fumes without the benefit of breathing apparatus.
The fire also led to expressions of concern about a number of aspects, including the delay in summoning the Fire Brigade and possible exposure of member of the public to harmful fumes and asbestos material evolved in the fire.
Image Credit: HSE
202304JanAll DayBraehead Container Depot Fire 1977Renfrew (GB)Industry:WarehouseCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Fire exposure Origin: HSE Incident:FIREHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite Injuries)Effects:< 100 InjuriesMaterial:Various
On 4 January 1977, a serious fire and explosion occurred at the Braehead Container Clearance Depot at Renfrew in Scotland. The fire and explosion, which originated at a warehouse occupied by
On 4 January 1977, a serious fire and explosion occurred at the Braehead Container Clearance Depot at Renfrew in Scotland.
The fire and explosion, which originated at a warehouse occupied by James Kelman Transport and Storage, completely wrecked that warehouse and the adjacent whisky bonded warehouse occupied by Clyde Container Services Ltd and also caused widespread window and roof damage to domestic, commercial, industrial and public property within a radius of a mile of the premises. The cost of the damage is estimated at some £6 000 000.
It was fortunate that, despite the extent of the damage, only twelve members of the public and one watchman were treated for shock and minor injuries. After investigation had eliminated one cause of fire after another it was discovered that it had accidently been started by three boys who had lit a fire to warm themselves at a den which they had made, during the New Year holiday, from cardboard cartons stacked beside the warehouse.
Subsequent experimental work tended to suggest that explosions of this nature and severity can be caused by the involvement of commercially pure sodium chlorate under the intense heat conditions of an industrial fire.
Image Credit: HSE
202321JanAll DayRiver Road Barking Explosion 1980Womersley Boome Chemicals (GB)Industry:WarehouseCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Fire exposure Origin: HSE Incident:Explosive decompositionHazards:OxidisingImpact:HUMAN (Offsite At Risk)Effects:EnvironmentalMaterial:Sodium Chlorate
A series of explosions which occurred at a chemical storage depot at 27 River Road, Barking on 21 January 1980 was probably caused by the rapid thermal decomposition of sodium
A series of explosions which occurred at a chemical storage depot at 27 River Road, Barking on 21 January 1980 was probably caused by the rapid thermal decomposition of sodium chlorate in an intense fire.
About 4000 people were temporarily evacuated from nearby housing estates when large quantities of smoke were blown in their direction.
The storage of sodium chlorate in quantities as low as 2-45 tonnes was not considered, prior to this incident, to be potentially dangerous. All previously recorded incidents involved quantities of 20 or more tonnes of the material.
This report emphasises the need for occupiers of similar premises to pay attention to:
– segregating various chemicals into different categories with regard to their relevant properties;
– obtaining advice on fire precautions from authoritative sources;
– preparing adequate emergency procedures in conjunction with the emergency services.
Image Credit: HSE
202313FebAll DayUniversal Freight Fire 1982Universal Freight Woodkirk (GB)Lessons:Emergency Preparedness,Risk Assessment,Stakeholder EngagementIndustry:WarehouseCountry:United KingdomLanguage:ENLoC:Fire exposure Origin: HSE Incident:Pool fireHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (Offsite At Risk)Effects:EnvironmentalMaterial:Octyl PhenolTopics:Chemical Reaction
At approximately 10:00 hours workers on site noticed the electrical lights flickering and saw smoke coming from the warehouse. On opening the warehouse door to investigate, a wall of thick
At approximately 10:00 hours workers on site noticed the electrical lights flickering and saw smoke coming from the warehouse. On opening the warehouse door to investigate, a wall of thick smoke confronted an employee. Shutting the door he raised the alarm and called the fire brigade. The warehouse was used for storing large quantities of ICI herbicides in plastic bottles and drums with plastic liners and octyl phenol in paper sacks.
The fire brigade responded promptly and was automatically issued with TREM cards (Transport Emergency Cards) relating to the herbicides and Octyl Phenol. However, by this time the fire had become established and had broken through the roof of the warehouse. The intensity and speed at which the fire developed surprised the fire fighters, as they believed the warehouse contents to be largely incombustible.
Some of the drums/bottles had burst in the fire and their contents were washed down the road and into Hey Beck, a small stream that drains from the site. This resulted in a major pollution incident. Because of the large volumes involved the decision was taken to allow the material to continue to flow into the drains, washed down by the fire brigade. This washing down activity continued for over two days after the incident. The diluted herbicides turned the stream into a brown foaming torrent for several miles. The River Calder was affected by this pollution. The fire fighters were faced with additional problems because of the physical properties of octyl phenol. This substance floats on water producing a flowing pool of burning liquid.
The seriousness of the pollution prompted action to be taken to contact police, the water authority, local radio stations and the press to warn the general public of the dangers of coming into contact with the contaminated water. Farmers were warned to keep livestock away from riverbanks.
The exact cause of this accident is unknown. A worker had been shrink-wrapping paper sacks of octyl phenol onto wooden pallets using a plastic film and a hand held cylinder heat gun, shortly before the incident occurred. It is feasible that the flame from the gun passing too close overheated one of the pallets, causing one or more bags, or the pallet to smoulder, eventually bursting in flames.
• EMERGENCY RESPONSE / SPILL CONTROL
• REACTION / PRODUCT TESTING
Image Credit: West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service