US and its Recent Fires

March 2023 has witnessed a host of fires and explosions across industries and it is crucial to talk about it.  

It is necessary for combustible materials to be present for fires to erupt. When it comes to the field of dry processing and bulk solids, chemicals cause most of the fires. 

However, this need not always be true. 

This week, the Emery Oleochemicals plant located in St. Bernard, OH witnessed an explosion and a consequent fire. 

According to an official from the Cincinnati Fire Department, the incident was small and isolated. 

But the fact is, nitrogen gas leaked inside the plant because of the hydrogen blast. Similarly, March 7 witnessed a small incident of a fire that erupted at American Crystal Sugar in Moorehead, MN.

According to reports, the staff claimed the source of the fire was identified as an internal part of a dust extraction system. No injuries were reported since the fire was extinguished quickly by the firefighters. On March 6, another case of a blaze was reported at Martins Snacks factory, based in Pennsylvania. A fire erupted within the facility, as per reports. 

Authorities stated that an internal smokestack and a fryer caused the fire. The fire was extinguished quickly, which can be attributed to the response of several crews. Although no injuries were reported, the level of damage that the facility sustained is unknown.  

On March 2. An explosion occurred in Cedar Rapids, IA at the Archer Daniels Midland corn processing plant, on the grain elevators. No injuries were reported here as well since fire crews responded immediately. 

At a recycling plant at Ft. Worth, TX – the American Shredder was surrounded by a thick layer of smoke on March 7, after a fire started at 5 p.m. However, nobody sustained any injuries and the air quality was not deemed to be risky.  

The cause of the fire was not detected. 

Last month, Liberty Recycling, which is located in Tuscaloosa, AL, scheduled to transport the operation of its shredder machines employed for the crushing of cars to another area. Scrap metal is its main line of business. 

In the last 1.5 years, the plant was home to 40 explosions as well as fires on two different occasions. There is a theory that this process is the most responsible for the loud explosions and for causing residential damage.

According to a resident, the shredder was to be moved by Feb 1, 2023, as per an order by a judge. However, they did not take timely action.  

A storage container for chemical wastes caught on fire at the University of California – Santa Barbara on Monday. Since the building was quickly evacuated, there were no injuries sustained, although the cause is yet to be identified.  

It is concerning that there were several fires and explosions in the last few days. Now, more than ever, industries must adhere to safety procedures and stay abreast of the guidelines surrounding dust explosions. Among our efforts, we must also focus on modern technology that can improve safety through proper chemical, dust, and gas containment, effective design of facilities, as well as emergency procedures.

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Dustcon Solutions is an Engineering & Safety Consulting Firm based out of West Palm Beach, FL. Reach out to us with any questions and we’ll get right back to you.