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The event was extremely important in terms of the establishment of certain codes that were to be followed in case of such incidents. The accident was…
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RUNNING HEAD: Bleve The BLEVE accident at Kingman, Arizona The BLEVE accident at Kingman, Arizona The disaster at Kingman, Arizona isthe greatest tragedy in terms of the number of firefighters dead in the state of Arizona. The event was extremely important in terms of the establishment of certain codes that were to be followed in case of such incidents. The accident was avoidable if such codes had already been put in place; however, the lessons learnt from it have gone a long way to ensuring safety in a world where populations and technologies have been advancing at a very rapid rate.
The event happened as a result of an explosion, created through a leak that had formed in the valves of a railroad car. This car was carrying around 125,000 litres of propane gas that had begun to escape through the leaks. The intention of the railroad employees was to convey the contents of the tank car to the storage tanks of the Williams Energy Company. In order to correct the leaks in the valves, one of the employees struck at the valve with a wrench. This proved to be the beginning of the catastrophe as the sparks that flew as a result of the friction between the two ignited a flame. Since propane is highly inflammable, the resultant flame quickly grew into a large fire. The forked fire grew to heights as large as seventy to eighty feet. By this time, the leaks had expanded to both vertical as well as horizontal directions. This led to further difficulties in the confinement of the perimeter of the fire. With an expansion in the amount of pressure that had been building up in the railroad car, there was an explosion that was felt by everyone who was within a radius of a little over eight kilometres. The immediate impact was felt by the firefighters who were stationed near the site of the explosion. Including those who died later of burns, eleven deaths of firefighters have been recorded till date (“The Disaster Story,” 2011).
Before a BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion) incident occurs, the fire grows to dangerous heights. The real hazard however, lies in the explosion that is caused by a sharp rise in pressure in whatever contains the fuel. During a BLEVE incident, the firefighters are faced with the twin-problem of quelling the fire and not allowing pressure to build up within the container. Needless to say, the damages that are caused to life and property in such a situation also arise from the above-mentioned twin sources.
The part of the incident that could have been avoided, however, was the casualties that were caused by the large number of spectators. Many people gathered to watch the fire, unfazed by the dangers posed by it, or maybe even ignorant of it. The explosion caused shrapnel to fly away to as far as two thousand feet while the roadblocks were raised a mere thousand feet away. The absence of a concrete plan to evacuate the area of spectators and civilians led to far greater casualties than it should have been.
Works Cited
The Disaster Story. (2011). Retrieved July 29, 2014, from http://kingmanhistoricdistrict.com/points-of-interest/firefighters-memorial-park/the-disaster-story.htm Read More
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