Reactive Chemical Incidents Blemish Industry Safety Records
Incidents in Florida and Ohio Result in Deaths and Injuries - Posted 01/08/08
Reactive chemical incidents resulting in thermal decomposition followed by explosion and fire are among the worst of chemical processing nightmares. The following incidents serve as constant reminders that our operations must never be taken for granted. CICC members are urged to spend extra time as reviewing their operations and procedures.
January 5, WLWT 5 Cincinnati - (Ohio) 12 hospitalized after chemical explosion. In Ohio, several workers from the Sumco Phoenix Corporation spent Saturday morning in the hospital, following a chemical fire at their plant. Firefighters said they were called to the plant at approximately 2:15 a.m. Saturday, when employees reported an explosion. When crews arrived, they said they found multiple hazardous chemicals had spilled onto the ground and generated a reactive explosion and caused high heat. The plant was evacuated and roads in the area were closed for hours while they cleaned up the mess. Plant officials said that a total of 12 workers were brought to the hospital as a precaution. According to a press release, the fire and chemicals were contained inside a room designed to control hazardous-material spills and fires. Firefighters said no chemicals leaked into the air, so neighbors did not need to be evacuated.
January 3, WJXT 4 Jacksonville - (Florida) Report: T2 Labs blast equal to ton of TNT. The explosion that killed four workers at a chemical plant on December 19 was equal to a blast that would be created by a ton of TNT and blew debris as far as a mile away, a federal investigator said Thursday. "The blast at T2 (Laboratories Inc.) was one of the most powerful ever examined by the Chemical Safety Board," said the investigator-in-charge from CSB, a federal agency that investigates major chemical accidents at industrial sites. The blast occurred as workers were mixing chemicals in a batch reactor to produce an additive to increase the octane rating of gasoline. There were reports of loud hissing, vapor venting, and then the explosion of the reactor vessel, which indicates excess temperature and pressure inside the reactor, the investigator said. After the rupture, the flammable contents mixed with air and ignited, releasing large amounts of thermal energy. One of the pieces of debris, the top of the pressure vessel, which had walls three inches thick, and weighs several hundred pounds was found about a quarter-mile away. Other parts were found as far as a mile away. The cause of the explosion has not been determined. Investigators said it remains too dangerous for them to enter the debris field of the failed reactor and hazardous chemicals remain in the area.
January 3, Associated Press - (Ohio) Explosion at biodiesel plant injures three. Authorities say an explosion Thursday afternoon at a biodiesel plant in northwest Ohio has injured three people. One of those injured has been taken to a Toledo hospital and the other two are being treated at a hospital in Defiance, Ohio. Officials say the injured had been in an office at the plant. Police in Defiance say the explosion happened around 3 p.m. at American AG Fuels. It is not clear what caused the blast. Authorities evacuated a two-block area next to the plant for about two hours until residents were allowed to return. The plant began processing soybean oil to make biodiesel within the last three years.
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