Friday, March 7, 2008

Down Under Combustible Dust Fire

It appears that combustible dust fires and explosions are not limited to the United States as this news release from Australia informs us here on the other side of the equator.

Fire crews are confident they have extinguished a fire in recycled milk powder at the Fonterra Milk processing plant at Darnum in West Gippsland. Fire investigators believed it was caused by spontaneous combustion in a four storey high hopper.

Example: 40 pounds of powdered milk meets up with his buddies at the fire triangle. Their partner, confinement, was not feeling well and decided to stay inside.

Since the Dixie Crystal sugar refinery explosion in Georgia last month, there has been quite a bit of dialog between a diverse group of stakeholders which includes government legislators, enforcement agencies, and labor unions concerning what preventive measures should be taken to prevent future incidents. So far there has been no word from business organizations concerning impending costly preventive legislation in preventing future catastrophic dust explosions.

Luckily in this incident the explosion prevention equipment was functioning properly and only a fire ensued. Back in February 1980, a powdered milk mill in Minneapolis, Minnesota was not so lucky when the mill was destroyed by an explosion when an employee lowered a drop cord into a bin of powdered milk to see if it was empty. A conveyor was running at the bottom of the bin. The drop cord got caught in the conveyor and caused the explosion. The explosion spread throughout the steel bins and the warehouse causing 1 fatality and 8 injuries.

Source:ABC Gippsland

Fire in a tower of milk powder

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