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Northwest Fire responds to fire in oil storage tank

Modified: Tuesday, Sep 24th, 2013




MARANA — On Monday, Northwest Fire District, along with an engine from the Picture Rocks Fire District responded to the Vulcan Materials plant located at 10100 W. Avra Valley Road after plant employees were alerted to a fire in their oil storage tanks. The call came in at 2:22 p.m., which sent a first alarm HazMat response.

“We are grateful to Northwest Fire Department for quickly responding. We are working closely with authorities to gather information concerning the incident and to ensure a thorough investigation,” Vulcan Materials Company issued in a statement. “Our aggregates business (rock and sand) has not been affected by this incident and will continue to operate as normal. Our asphalt business will be down temporarily as we assess the cause of the fire and make repairs to the asphalt plant. Vulcan is committed to protecting the community and the environment, and the health and safety of our employees.”

When the first engine arrived, large amounts of fire and heavy smoke were coming for two 3,500 gallon storage tanks. These tanks contained oil and liquid oil products with polymers within the mixture used for the production of asphalt. There were also two 1,000 gallon propane tanks within 125 feet of the fire which are used to heat burners that keep the oil products hot during the asphalt.

Initial crews attempted to extinguish the flames and keep the fire from spreading to the large propane tanks. A total of 15 gallons of class B firefighting foam was used by the initial companies to knock down the main portion of fire. Flammable liquids fires are difficult to extinguish with water alone. Firefighting foam is used to suppress vapors and cool the flammable liquids to prevent continued burning. An additional unit was brought into the scene with 55 gallons of class B concentrate. When mixed with water, there was approximately 1,000 gallons of foam. This foam operation was successful in extinguishing the flames and began to cool the extremely hot oil.

A total of 29 firefighters staffing four engines, a ladder company and several support units including three water tenders took 26 minutes to bring the fire under control. No injuries to plant operators or firefighters reported.

Investigators were still on scene to determine the cause of the fire.



For the complete article see the 09-24-2013 issue.



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