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Beware Of Smoke From Fire!

Beware of smoke from fire!

  • Flash
Whether white (rich in aerosols or water vapour), grey (a mixture of aerosols and solid particles) or black (large solid particles), the smoke released from fires presents several risks. Beyond death from intoxication, fumes are a potential health hazard owing to the substances they contain. Smoke is also corrosive to metal structures or electronic components. Finally, they can accentuate the combustion of surrounding goods by pyrolysis.
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Mixing of incompatible products

  • Fact sheet
Transfer of chemicals between fixed and mobile tanks may cause mixtures of incompatible products. This risk is all the more pernicious as the mixture usually involves "classic" substances and widely used: bleach, acid ... This fact sheet presents some lessons learnt from the accidentology.
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CO2 Extinguishing Systems

CO2 extinguishing systems

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Gas-based extinguishing processes become attractive when water cannot be used (e.g. computer equipment, audio/video archives, ship engine rooms), yet the associated risks must not be underestimated, as witnessed by the example of CO2 systems.
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Explosions followed a fire at an oil depot

  • Accident report
  • ROYAUME-UNI

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 [...]

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FFO Leak In A Petrol Station

FFO leak in a petrol station

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

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 [...]

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Fire Followed By Pollution Of A Stream

Fire followed by pollution of a stream

  • Accident report
  • BELGIQUE
On a Saturday night, fire broke out near the Antwerp Port inside a group of warehouses classified as hazardous under the SEVESO 2 Directive, in particular for their storage of bromine, formaldehyde and extremely toxic, explosive or highly inflammable substances. Since the company was specialised in freight storage, handling and distribution activities, the quantity of hazardous materials present onsite varied considerably over time. The fire occurred in a warehouse (C) containing only hazardous substances and then spread to warehouse (B), housi [...]
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Explosion Of A Cereal Silo

Explosion of a cereal silo

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

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 [...]

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Fire In A Fertiliser Warehouse

Fire in a fertiliser warehouse

  • Accident report
  • FRANCE

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 [...]

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