50 firefighters and 17 fire trucks spent 3 hours battling a massive fire at a Fairfield service station in Western Sydney on Wednesday evening.
The fire started during a decanting process from one of the 15 Decanting Cylinders onsite, and quickly engulfed the decanting area. As the fire raged the remaining 200lt canisters all reached their temperature threshold and their emergency venting mechanisms kicked in.
“Pressure vessels like the LPG Decanting Cylinders have a fail-safe mechanism in them to prevent explosion, which would result in the rapid and uncontrolled release of the gas, which would be catastrophic” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
“In this case the canisters venting mechanism deployed resulting in the canisters venting, rather than exploding. The venting gas quickly ignites and the result is a very large fire, but one that is more controlled than it would be if the canisters exploded rather than vented”, continued Elisha.
The site remains closed while investigations and safe to open inspections continue.
“This incident is an opportunity for all operators to review their procedures when it comes to LPG Decanting. While it is true that most sites have moved away from decanting in favour of the more convenient bottle swap approach, there are still some sites that decant. Those sites should be reviewing their procedures with their staff, paying particular attention to static management and emergency response”, Elisha added.
“There will be learnings from this industry incident and ACAPMA will keep members updated” concluded Elisha.
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