August, 1984

This is a repeating event

198415AugAll DayFort McMurray Refinery Fire 1984Syncrude Fort McMurray (CA-AB)Industry:RefiningCountry:CanadaLanguage:ENLoC:Deterioration Origin: Marsh Incident:FIREHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (On Site At Risk)Effects:EnvironmentalMaterial:Hydrocarbons


Erosion failure in a 10-inch-diameter slurry recycle oil line in an 82,000 bbl per day fluid bed coking unit released liquids close to their auto ignition temperature. A vapor cloud which covered a large area ignited almost immediately resulted in a ground fire covering a large area which resulted in the failure of six or seven additional lines. The fire eventually extended over a 150-feet-diameter area with damage up in the unit structure up to a height of more than 100 feet. Metallurgical examination revealed that a 1.8-inch-long piece of carbon steel pipe had inadvertently been inserted into the slurry recycle line made of 5-chrome during an earlier metals inspection. The reactor fractionator, light gasoil stripper, 15,000 hp air blower, pumps, and pipe racks were severely damaged or destroyed. About 2,700 barrels of hydrocarbon liquids were released from process equipment during the fire. Much of this was by gravity flow from ruptured lines, although pumps, which could not be shut down, contributed much of the flow. A 900 psig steam line, which supplied the turbine drivers of the compressors, ruptured, hampering fire fighting efforts.

[ Property Damage $75 Million. Estimated Current Value $190 Million ]

Image credit: Syncrude