20th Anniversary of Suncor Tank Fire

posted Jul 20, 2016, 12:04 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Feb 14, 2017, 3:17 AM ]
Suncor Tank Fire
Today is the 20th Anniversary of the extinguishing of the Suncor Tank Fire at the Suncor Refinery, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. The fire was caused by a direct lightning strike on a tank containing a gasoline component. After battling the fire for more than six hours is was successfully extinguished by a coordinated foam attact by several Sarnia Chemical Valley fire departments in just 30 minutes. At the time in July 1996 it was the largest tank fire ever extinguished. Later is was surpassed by a lightning strike during Hurricane Allison in 2001 of an Orion Refinery tank containing gasoline.

Less than a year earlier the Sarnia Chemical Valley Emergency Coordination Organisation (CVECO) simulated the rescue of two men from the top of a tank on fire during their annual disaster simulation exercise. That exercise provide excellent training for the actual event occurring the next summer. The attached conference paper from the the 2004 Loss Prevention and Safety Promotion Symposium in Prague describe the CVECO, which is a cross border emergency response organisation.

Safepark can provide training for your process and design engineers in the use of tools like the Dow Fire & Explosion Index to create facility layouts, which minimize the risk of a fire spreading from one tank to another or from one unit to another. A related tool called the Dow Chemical Exposure Index provide guidance of how close vulneralbe community facilities should be from your plant, and what action to take in an emergency.
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