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Fire at a wastewater treatment plant.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 84-011, 1984 Jun; :1-10
The case of a fire in the floating cover of a digestion tank at a secondary sewage treatment facility which caused the asphyxiation of two laborers was examined. On December 29, 1983 a fire erupted in the floating cover of a digestion tank which two laborers were preparing to paint. The areas around and within the covers had been being heated with propane fueled salamanders through a regulator and hose assembly. When firefighters arrived at the scene, there was heavy smoke and low visibility within the floating cover. The two victims were found dead; the overalls of one victim were singed, and a cigarette lighter was found near the body. The reset button on an automatic pilot valve found in the floating cover was stuck in the open position. Both victims were found to have died from carbon- monoxide (630080) intoxication, and propane (74986) was identified in endotracheal air specimens from both victims. It was speculated that the probable fuel source for the fire was propane and the probable ignition cause may have been the cigarette lighter. Factors contributing to this fatal incident were the performance of this activity in the cold weather necessitating a need for heaters and the lack of recognition of the floating cover as a confined space.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-84-011; Accident-analysis; Confined-spaces; Combustion-products; Toxic-gases; Fire-hazards; Sewage-treatment; Painting
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division