On June 24, 2005, it was a hot and sunny summer day in St. Louis, with the temperature reaching as high as 36°C. In a gas cylinder filling and distribution work area, work goes on normally from morning to noon. However, at about 3:20 p.m., a technician went to the storage area outside to retrieve gas bottles and suddenly discovered 10-foot-high flames shooting out of a gas bottle. He immediately activated the fire alarm. The propylene was released from the pressure relief device on the cylinder valve and ignited. Workers and customers at the factory were evacuated. The fire spread to nearby gas cylinders, which ignited and began to explode, sending debris flying into other areas of the plant, further spreading the fire. Four minutes later, flames enveloped most of the factory's flammable gas cylinder area, and explosions occurred one after another.
A large number of cylinders and parts flew into the community and were found on sidewalks, in yards, in parking lots and under cars. Damage included: a vacant commercial building burned down, a car burned down, a residential building with a 3-foot hole in the wall, broken glass, and other damage to residential and commercial buildings. Parts of the gas cylinder were also found 800 feet away. If barrels, vats, and bottles containing certain chemicals are stored outdoors and exposed to direct sunlight, the chemicals can heat to dangerous temperatures.
High temperatures can cause decomposition, polymerization, or other chemical reactions, or, as in the case of the accident above, overpressure the container due to a rise in the vapor pressure of the contents.
In this incident, direct sunlight exposure and unusually high temperatures may have caused the temperature of the cylinder and its media to rise to 65°C, which is high enough to open the safety release device and release the media.
Rules we should follow:
Follow the guidelines in the Safety Data Sheet for safe storage of chemical containers.
For gas cylinders, follow the guidance of relevant industry associations such as the Compressed Gas Association, follow agreed standards, and follow the recommendations of material suppliers.
Minimize the number of gas cylinders in the process operating area.
Therefore, special attention must be paid to the storage of gas cylinders, and explosion-proof warehouses can also be used to store gas cylinders. But it needs to be customized.