Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Floor cleaner blamed for exlposion" (Plant destroyed)

Every facility has regular schedule production shutdowns for maintenance activities. Many facilities schedule a maintenance shutdown during the end of the year. A few days ago an incident occurred that shocked the Aluminium Plant Safety Blog. Here is the story:

On December 30, 2016 firefighters from fifteen fire departments fought a fire at a company in the Midwest USA that produces aluminium parts for the aerospace industry.

Only two people were reportedly inside the building work on the floors when a large explosion went through the building.

A local pilot was able to give an aerial view after the explosion (photo shown above).

The fire chief says temperatures inside the building likely reaches 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. He says the building insulated the fire and allowed it to heat up and spread quickly.

Fire fighters rescue the American Flag from the flames in front of the factory.
Investigators have not determined the cause of the blaze, but they say they do not expect foul play.

The State Fire Marshall's Office conducted a formal investigation once the fire was fully extinguished Wednesday morning.

Officials say a floor cleaner buffer sparked and ignited the chemical used to clean the floor.

The company, an official US Defense Department contractor, makes honeycomb out of aluminium used in aircraft. The company employs around 50 people and is one of town’s largest employers. Two people were injured and taken 50 kilometers to a hospital for their third degree burns. Fire officials say the victims were talking when taken out of the building.

The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog prays that the injured workers recover fully from their burns. The state fire investigator interviewed the two burned workers who explained that the buffing machine they were using to clean the floors began to emit sparks that ignited the floor cleaner resulting in an explosion. The resulting fire destroyed the factory. Further complicating the situation was the unknown amount of aluminium fines and dust that fueled the fire.

Though the 2800 square meter facility was described as a “total loss” there are reports that the owner will rebuild and is hoping for an April 2017 production restart. We hope that plant can be rebuilt and restarted. 

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