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Írta: lpimper - Dátum: 2011/04/09 23:26
Worker dies in tanker truck explosion
A Colonial Terminals employee died Friday afternoon when the tank he was sitting on exploded.  The incident occurred about 4:10 p.m.  at the company’s container facility, which is located at the end of West Lathrop Avenue next to the Savannah River.  Company spokesman Andrew Calhoun said the man was using a hose to fill a 7,000-gallon tanker truck with Toluene, a highly-flammable solvent used in gasoline blending and as a paint thinner.  Calhoun said a spark ignited and the tank exploded. The man died instantly.  At press time Friday, the worker’s identity had not been released. Company officials say they don’t know why the tank exploded.  The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Chatham Emergency Management Agency, Savannah Fire and Emergency Services and Colonial Terminals, said Bill Baker, the company’s vice president of operations. “Our next steps to try to piece together what happened,” he said. Two other employees were reported to have minor injuries, described as “scrapes and bruises” from trying to get away from the fire. Neither was taken to the hospital, company officials said. Colonial Terminals Environmental Health and Safety Manager Jim Baker said four workers were nearby when the explosion happened: The tanker filler who died, the truck driver who was standing about 30 yards away and two workers who were passing by. Jim Baker said about 50 to 75 employees from the facility’s “Plant 2” were evacuated. Emergency response protocols call for isolating the area and also to consider a half-mile evacuation when a tanker truck of Toluene catches on fire. The chemical’s vapors are highly flammable and can be harmful if inhaled, according to Toluene’s material safety data sheet. Savannah Fire Spokesman Mark Keller said a half-mile evacuation wasn’t necessary because the foam firefighters used to put out the blaze contained the fumes. “We smothered and contained it to where it was not a threat,” Keller said. Keller said it took about 20 minutes for firefighters working on five engines to contain the blaze, which spread to a small, elevated platform connected to a storage tank. He said they used foam to suppress the chemical and water to put out the fire. Savannah Fire’s HAZMAT team was called to the scene. Toulene’s material safety data sheet classifies it as a hazardous waste that should not be drained into a storm sewer. Colonial Terminals Inc. is a privately-held subsidiary of Colonial Group. The company was founded in 1921 as Colonial Oil and specialized in oil storage and transport before branching out to other volatile chemicals and changing its name. Colonial Group has more than 1,000 employees, about 400 of which work in the company’s Savannah facility. Bill Baker said Friday’s explosion was Colonial Group’s first serious accident since 1971, when a worker died in another fire.

  • Forrás:http://savannahnow.com/news/2011-04-08/worker-dies-tanker-truck-explosion