Sunday, August 17, 2008

Small fire leads to carbon dioxide emergency

Firegeezer, always a good source for news about firefighting, has a unique story about a small fire in a lacquer-making plant in Germany that was quickly suppressed by the first-in units, but that was only the beginning. The fire triggered the discharge of the carbon dioxide extinguishing system which normally automatically closes all of the doors. But one door failed to close completely, which allowed massive amounts of CO2 to spill outside the plant.

A lack of wind caused the CO2 to build up to the point where fire engines stopped running and firefighters without breathing apparatus were overcome. Firefighters realized what was happening and requested additional help, eventually having 480 emergency personnel on scene. They evacuated 50 nearby homes and brought in two helicopters to fly low over the area to disperse the CO2. There were 107 respiratory injuries and 19 were transported to hospitals.

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