Explosions followed by fire ripped through a fuel storage depot in Buncefield, England, located just 40 km north of London. The facility was storing 150,000 t of fuel (petrol, diesel fuel and kerosene) at the time of the accident. The 1st and largest explosion occurred at 6.01 am (measuring 2.4 on the Richter scale) and was heard 160 km away. The overpressure effects from the blast reached 700 to 1,000 mbar. Two other explosions occurred at 6.27 and 6.28 am. A gigantic blackish cloud containing irritating substances drifted across southern Engl [...]
In a SEVESO-rated oil depot at 5:20 am, a truck driver notified a technician after observing an anomaly on pumping plant no. 1. The technician manually closed the pump feed valve, and the site was placed in safe operating mode by activating the emergency shutdown routine. Fuel flowed into the hydrocarbon separator, whose float stop valve was operational; the valve did not instantaneously close and pollution reached the SEINE River (iridescence over its entire width along a 3-km stretch). No measures however were implemented to treat the polluti [...]
In a port zone, 28 of the 44 vertical cylindrical concrete cells of a 37,150-tonne cereal silo exploded during the transfer of corn from a lorry to the port storage facilities. The silo was nearly full, and the intermediate gates provided most of the empty storage capacity. The emergency "red plan" was activated. Ten employees and 1 fisherman were killed; their bodies were found several days later under the rubble. Another employee was seriously injured. Debris splattered over a 100-m radius; many projectiles reached some of the storage tanks at [...]
At a warehouse storing unknown contents, the self-sustaining decomposition of a stockpile of 850 tonnes of fertiliser NPK 15-8-22 delivered five days earlier caused the formation of a cloud 10 km long heading westward; in this cloud, the presence of nitric acid and chlorine were detected.
The ORSEC plan for dealing with crises was activated; 200 fire-fighters, 627 police officers , 489 gendarme officers, 356 soldiers, 200 emergency responders and over 1,000 municipal employees were mobilised. An extensive evacuation plan spanning 7 municipalitie [...]