Thursday, February 16, 2012

Decade anniversary: Silo fire at Tire Recycling plant Article Feb 6, 2012
U.S. Fire Administration/Technical Report Series: Tire Recycling Facility Fire Nebraska City, Nebraska USFA-TR-145/January-February 2002

Excerpts from US Fire Administration report:

The Facility
The plant had been inspected by Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office on more than one occasion and had a history of poor housekeeping as well as a track record of poor equipment maintenance. There had previously been two fires at the site, as well as two fires at another EnTire facility, also located in Nebraska City.

The Incident
The explosion expelled chunks of rubber that were approximately two to four inches in diameter. Debris was hurled 300 to 400 feet away, damaging and destroying apparatus and equipment as well as injuring the thirteen firefighters

The State Fire Marshal has determined that the probable cause was a faulty bearing in the stiff leg auger which carried the crumb rubber from the ground level to the top of the silos.

The bearing overheated igniting the rubber debris around the sugar base. A contributing factor was the poor housekeeping practices. No definite cause of the explosion has been identified,

Lessons Learned
Most local zoning and building codes do not adequately address facilities of this type.
Traditionally, volunteer fire departments do not become involved in local zoning issues and often lack the resources to properly preplan target hazards.

The facility in this incident was not designed for its use, nor were there adequate safe guards built into the process since the com­plex already existed and was modified to accommodate this particular process.

Fire departments should become more proactive in the permitting and zoning process and should endeavor to ensure appropriate code enforcements in facilities of this type, whenever it is possible to do so.

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