In a PVC plant, an MVC leak ignited causing a (UVCE-type) explosion. The plant comprised 2 production buildings, one housing a boiler room and maintenance workshop, the other the laboratory, offices and warehouse, along with a series of MVC tanks (four with 180-m³ capacity) and a warehouse annex. The buildings were all equipped with sprinklers. Building V-1 had 20 7.5-m3 capacity polymerisation reactors, each fitted with a window. During this Sunday's daytime shift, the opaque window glass on Reactor 4 was replaced. The reactor was reloaded wit [...]
The break of the Malpasset Dam, a 60-m high arched structure with a thin diaphragm wall, caused 423 victims and displaced 7,000 more. After several days of torrential rains, this dam set up on the Reyran River north of Fréjus broke at 9:11 pm during its first filling (a critical phase in the life cycle of a dam). A 50 million-m3 deluge of water flooded the Reyran Valley, devastating everything in its path. The city of Fréjus was inundated in just a few minutes by a wave of water and then mud 21 minutes later.
The consequences of this accident [...]
At a chemical plant, an explosion destroyed a building storing 4,500 tonnes of a 50-50 composition of ammonium sulphate-nitrate, forming a crater 90 m wide, 125 m long and 20 m deep. Shortly thereafter, a series of fires broke out on the facilities, caused by a domino effect, amidst other explosions of lesser intensity. Heard more than 275 km away, the detonation created panic among the local population. A dark green cloud blanketed the sky over the region, and the telegraph and telecommunications infrastructure was destroyed. The extent of dam [...]
On 31st August 1794 at 7:15 am, either 30.2 tonnes (65,000 pounds) or 150 tonnes of powder (depending on the source) exploded in the gunpowder storage room at the Château de Grenelle, near the Military School (Ecole militaire), in a heavily urbanized zone of Paris. The 2,000 workers cramped into the workshop were producing black powder in an overheated atmosphere without taking any protective measures. The recent working methods implemented had made it possible to increase production capacity. Consequences of this accident were tremendous: 1,0 [...]