NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 75

FIRE INCIDENTS FROM NFPA FILES
Compiled and written by
Richard Campbell,
NFPA Research Group

Industrial
WASHINGTON
Scrapped autos fuel major barge fire
Firefighters were dispatched to an auto
scrap facility shortly after 8 p.m. by
multiple reports of thick black smoke
and fire. Upon arrival, crews found
flames issuing from a cargo of scrapped
automobiles stacked atop a large barge,
which was moored in a river and
secured to a seawall at the end of the
property.
Crews pulled hoses to begin suppression efforts, but were initially unable to
gain access to the fire due to its location at the outermost edge of stacked
vehicles at the far end of the barge.
Firefighters were able to begin putting
water on the fire with the assistance of
ladder units, and the arrival of a fire
boat provided a more direct line of fire
attack. A foam truck from a nearby airfield responded to the scene.
As suppression efforts continued,
news reports described billowing black
smoke and explosions as combustible
materials in the scrapped material
ignited. Crews were reportedly able to
bring the fire under control in about
an hour, but crews remained on the
scene for several more hours as crane
operators removed vehicles to allow
extinguishment of hard-to-reach hot
spots.
The fire department reported that
39 pieces of fire aparatus and 131 personnel were involved in the response.
The Coast Guard and environmental
authorities also reported to the scene to
prepare the deployment of booms for
environmental containment.
Two firefighters were transported to
a local medical center for treatment of
minor injuries.
According to a crane operator, the
fire began as he lowered crane jaws to
grab a vehicle and it burst into flames.
He reported observing what he believed
to be propane tanks on the underside
of the vehicle. The operator managed
to remove the burning vehicle from the
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NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

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