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Hazard ID: fire fighting hazards during propane tank fires.
Braddee-RW; Washenitz-FC II; Flesch-JP
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2001 Jul; 16(7):721-722
On April 15, 1998, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigated the line-of-duty deaths of two volunteer fire fighters (Report No. 98F14). The investigation was part of the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program. Both fire fighters were part of a volunteer fire department that responded to an 18,000-gallon bulk propane tank fire. The fire started after unprotected external piping from the tank was struck by an all-terrain vehicle and the propane vapors were ignited by a pilot flame from a nearby vaporizer. Upon arrival at the fire scene, the firefighters watered down the buildings adjacent to the propane tank and allowed the tank to burn itself out, since the tank was venting. About 8 minutes after the fire fighters arrived, the tank exploded, separated into four parts, and flew in four directions. The two fire fighters (who were approximately 105 feet from the tank) were struck by a piece of the exploding tank and killed instantly. Six other fire fighters and a deputy sheriff were injured as a result of the explosion. Such explosions may occur whenever flames contact propane tanks.
Accident-prevention; Fire-fighting; Propanes; Explosive-gases; Emergency-response; Storage-containers; Hazardous-materials; Work-practices; Training; Flammable-gases; Fire-hazards; Mortality-data
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division