When NOT to Pull the Trigger

Storage tank boilover in Nicaragua dies unchallenged

Williams Fire & Hazard Control, a Tyco Fire Protection Products business, was ready, willing and able to extinguish the aftermath of a crude oil boilover in Nicaragua that left two 150-foot diameter storage tanks in flames. However, the decision by the local oil company was to let the remaining fire die a slow, natural death.

“The changing dynamics of the scenario kept taking the ball out of our hands,” said Chauncey Naylor, WF&HC director of emergency response and training. “You have a plan but then the situation changes dramatically. So you have to make a new plan.”

For Naylor, the biggest triumph of the entire experience was predicting the boilover to within 40 minutes, giving authorities time to clear any personnel in harm’s way.

“According to company representatives the crude oil tank boiled over four times in rapid succession, but none of the product left the containment area,” Naylor said.

He also takes great pride in that the entire incident, from beginning to end, was handled without a single injury.

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