20th Anniversary of Suncor Tank Fire

Suncor Tank Fire

2016-07-20 19:95 Niels Jensen

Largest tank fire to be exthinguished at the time

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.

What can be learned from simulating a large tank fire

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. At the 2004 Loss Prevention and Safety Promotion Symposium in Prague Niels teamed up with others to present the story of CVECO, which is a cross border emergency response organisation. Get a copy of the paper here.

Safepark training may help you avoid fires

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 vulnerable community facilities should be from your plant, and what action to take in an emergency.