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Gas Explosion In The Cat Cracking And Gas Plant Units Of A Refinery

Gas explosion in the cat cracking and gas plant units of a refinery

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

An extremely violent explosion occurred at 5:20 am inside a refinery operating normally; this blast, felt up to 30 km away, was followed by several others.

The internal emergency plan was activated at 5:45 and rescue teams called to the scene. The "red plan" was implemented at 6:15; 250 firemen dispatched from neighbouring industrial sites, cities and department were mobilised. The fire re-ignited at 9:50 am and was finally brought under control at 1:30 pm.

A very heavy toll was announced: 6 deaths and 37 injured, including a refinery employee in [...]

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Explosion of hydrocarbons in an urban sewerage network

  • Accident report
  • MEXIQUE

(résumé plus à jour) An explosion occurred around 10 am in the sewer line of Mexico's second largest city amidst a metropolitan area; this blast was followed by a series of explosions between 10:30 and 11:30 am. Then very early the next morning, two more blasts were set off, one of which in an industrial district. These explosions resulted from the ignition of gas accumulated in the 3.50-m diameter sewer collector pipes, buried 8 m below the pavement, subsequent to a hydrocarbon pipeline leak. The toll was devastating: 206 deaths, 500 disapp [...]

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Explosion of a single-family dwelling due to underground hydrocarbon pollution

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

An explosion occurred around 1:00 am in a single-family dwelling. On their return from a trip, the homeowner by drawing hot water from a tap caused the water heater to turn on, causing ignition of the hydrocarbon vapours that had accumulated in the basement when the house was closed. The owner was slightly injured and the house completely destroyed.

Hydrocarbons had been found in the groundwater dating back to 1985; as of 1989, their presence led to the detection of odours in the town. Expert evaluations conducted since 1987 enabled identifying [...]

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Rupture Of A Tank In A Refinery

Rupture of a tank in a refinery

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

Within a refinery storage zone, the shell of a fragile 15,000-m³ tank (at the end of its filling cycle) containing 13,500 m³ of HTS residue (at 130°C) split open. The flow of HC then destroyed two other tanks (15,000 m³ each) located in the same retention basin. The wave submerged the dike walls and flooded a 8-ha area of the site. During this incident, pipes burst (including a GO pipe) or got repositioned. The absence of an ignition source prevented the outbreak of fire. Rerouting the flow into a stormwater basin and installing a floating [...]

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Hydrogen tank explosion in a chemical plant.

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

At 6.10 am, a 3000 litre hydrogen gas tank dating back to 1939 (L=14 m, diam.=570 mm) exploded at 135 bar during hydrogenation in a chemical site. The technicians who witnessed the violent explosion followed by a red-orangey fire ball sounded the alert. The hydrogenation workshop was urgently shut down. The start of fire was quickly brought under control. The H2 station commissioned in 1986, located in an open underground pit with an asbestos cement roof assembly (L=16 m, B=5 m, depth= 4 m) and 20 m at the boundary of the site housed eight 1,00 [...]

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The Bhopal Tragedy

The Bhopal tragedy

  • Accident report
  • INDE

At a pesticide manufacturing plant set up in 1969, a release of about 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) and other toxic gases continued for 2 hours during the night of 2nd to 3rd December, subsequent to a runaway reaction caused by the addition of water into a MIC tank. The consequences of this release were uncontrolled due to many safety systems being defective or shunted for purposes of lowering operating costs.
These toxic emanations led to a tremendous number of victims among the local population: between 3,000 and 25,000 deaths, and 170, [...]

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Boilover of a crude oil tank

  • Accident report
  • ROYAUME-UNI

In the storage tanks of a refinery (production: 5 million tonnes/year), smoke was detected on a 94,000-m³ capacity floating roof tank containing 47,000 tonnes of light crude oil (flash point: 38°C). Shortly thereafter, the surface (4,800 m²) ignited. In the absence of a fixed protective device, the emergency response team projected foam at the tank roof using a gun mounted on an aerial platform, while protecting the adjacent tanks and cooling the walls of tank no. 11. The roof collapsed (with an estimated roof load equal to 700 tonnes). A few [...]

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Catastrophic Explosion Of A Cyclohexane Cloud

Catastrophic explosion of a cyclohexane cloud

  • Accident report
  • ROYAUME-UNI

A cyclohexane cloud violently exploded at a caprolactam plant; 28 employees were killed, and a total of 89 individuals were seriously hurt, 53 of them among the general public. Property loss was considerable: buildings destroyed within a 600-m radius, 1,820 dwellings and 167 businesses sustained damage.

Caprolactam was being synthesised by means of catalytic oxidation of cyclohexane at 155°C and under 8.8 bar of pressure inside 6 reactors placed in series; some 250 to 300 m³/hr of liquid was being conveyed by straight pipes 28'' (711 mm) in diame [...]

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Agricultural NH3 Leak

Agricultural NH3 leak

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

In a farm courtyard on the outskirts of a village, a liquid ammonia (NH3) hose broke during the transfer of a fixed tank (7.2 m³) to a mobile cistern (3.7 m³). Since the outdoor temperature was 24°C, the pressure level neared 8 bar; 7,000 litres of anhydrous NH3 (i.e. 4 tonnes) spread over the ground and evaporated, forming a whitish cloud fed by the leak for a full hour.

The farmhand, struck by the hose, was thrown 5 m in back of the main tank. Burned on the neck and left arm, he was also intoxicated and could not close the valve since his [...]

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