Loss of Containment, A Basic Cause of Process Safety Incidents
In 1979, while covering a chemical plant operation during a strike, I was rudely awakened by a massive explosion. I quite literally fell out of bed, sleeping in a trailer located about 100 feet from the plant fence-line, shared with a petroleum product distribution tank farm. I grabbed my pants and went outside. The heat from the fire at a large storage tank next-door could be felt where I stood. It turned out that a gasoline storage tank was being filled from a nearby ship and had overflowed into the surrounding dike. When operating personnel jumped into their truck to drive to the dock and stop the gasoline transfer, the truck became the ignition source, setting off a vapour-cloud explosion and pool fire. No one was hurt, but the fire burned for two days.