Monday, April 9, 2018
"molten metal flew and started pallets and cardboard boxes on fire....."
Though no one was injured in this incident we chose to omit the company name because our comments may sound negative. So with that introduction here we go. On our travels throughout our industry we find that companies that handle smaller mass of molten metal are less concerned with molten metal explosions than companies that handle large volumes of molten metal. Here is the story:
An explosion that “sounded a lot worse than it actually was,” according to Fire Chief, shut down aluminium foundry in the USA one day during the week of March 25, 2018 for a couple of hours, resulted in the evacuation of area businesses, and the closing of a small portion of a nearby avenue in the city.
“Of course, our police department was there to help,” Fire department said about that department’s efforts to help evacuate a few area businesses. The police also closed down a nearby avenue while the fire department personnel secured the scene inside the building.
“For a run like this we usually have two or three of our [trucks] and normally get help during the day from two other fire departments, so it was very normal for what we had going to the fire call. We didn’t need to ask for anything above and beyond what we normally would get for a fire call.”
We are glad that no one was injured in this incident and the fire was able to be extinguished. Foundries, die casting companies, etc. that typically handle smaller volumes of molten metal have to acknowledge the potential of molten metal explosions. The failure to acknowledge this potential hazard results in making their facilities less safe.
This incident involving only 5-8 gallons of molten metal could have easily burned down the facility. Why? Because the Aluminum Plant Safety Blog has posted incident after incident involving molten metal explosions at die casting plants and foundries that resulted in large fires. In some instances we have posted stories that resulted with fatal incidents. We have known workers to die from molten metal explosions involving only a few pounds of molten metal.
This explosion could have occurred for a myriad of reasons. Most common are contaminates, moisture entraption, or metal spilled onto bare concrete, steel or stainless steel substrate. Please note that we recommend Wise Chem coatings be applied anywhere molten metal can come into contact with molten metal on bare steel, concrete or stainless steel. We pray that this company does investigation to determine what caused the explosion.