Ferrara orders truck into action straight from the assembly line
Volume 25, No. 3
? At Ferrara Fire Apparatus, product testing reached its ultimate conclusion March 30 when Brad Williamson, industrial product manager, dispatched a Ferrara Inundator pumper from the plant in Holden, LA, to a massive chemical warehouse fire 20 miles away in Denham Springs.
? An explosion, reported shortly after 2 p.m., was followed by a fire that burned into the evening, threatening neighboring industrial facilities and forcing the evacuation of everyone within a half-mile radius. More than 100 firefighters from a four-parish area responded to the blast.
? Most of those firefighters brought equipment designed for municipal emergencies such as structure fires. The Inundator, available in a multitude of configurations supported by a flow capacity of 8,000 gpm, is specifically designed for industrial fire fighting in refineries and petrochemical plants.
? Companies utilizing the Inundator include Chevron Phillips, CITGO, Eli Lily, Placid Refining, Dow, Shell and Flint Hills. Armed with triple monitors, the Inundator has a list of options that include a Williams Fire and Hazard Control Hot Shot II balanced pressure foam system, as well as the Ranger and Ambassador series of deck guns.
? A state inspection documents the contents of the warehouse as chemical intermediates and reformulations used to make soap, lube oil additives and fuel additives. Newspaper accounts quote workers on scene that a drum was being heated to liquefy its contents prior to mixing when the initial blast took place.
? During the first several hours of the emergency, 55-gallon barrels of flammable chemicals sporadically rocketed into the sky, further spreading the blaze.
? Even though responders brought the fire under control Tuesday evening, the surrounding area remained under a police cordon Wednesday morning. The area would remain closed until experts can better assess the threat to returning residents, said state police Sgt. Markus Smith.
? "The biggest problem that we have to be careful of is what we have left," Smith said. "Even though the fire has been extinguished we still have residual chemicals that are there. There are still a lot of containers that we have to be aware of and make sure they are not posing a hazard."