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BLEVE (Boiling Liquids, Expanding Vapor Explosion) . Time of year: summer. Ambient temperature: 103 degrees. Relative humidity: 84 percent. Location: Platesmouth, Nebraska Business: Confluence Gasses . A propelyne tank has heated up and begun venting. Static electricity creates a source of ignition for the flammable gasses. Hearing an odd sound outside, a technician comes out to take a look. He is terrified when he sees the flames shooting out of the compressed gas cylinder. The tech runs back inside to call 911. As the tech makes the call, more cylinders begin venting and catch fire. The 911 operator told the tech to evacuate. Grabbing his boss, the men run for safety. The Platesmouth VFD chief is buying pizzas for lunch at his day job. Beep Beep Beep Beep Platesmouth Fire and Rescue call, Platesmouth Fire and Rescue call. Report of a gas fire at Confluence Gasses 1424 South Brick Street. Reporting party states gas cylinders are venting fire. Repeat Platesmouth Fire and Rescue call at Confluence Gasses 1424 South Brick Street. 1209. The chief is running for his personal vehicle. With lights and sirens on he exits his parking spot onto Main Street. Carefully, he passes a skateboarder. The chief arrives onseen and is met by the tech and the manager. As the chief gets on his bunker gear, the manager explains the issue. Engine One reports going in service as the chief requests mutual aid from Oak Creek. Suddenly, one of the propelyne cylinders rockets away. And clips a large propane tank. As Engine One arrives, the fire has spread. Numerous flamable gas cylinders are ablaze aided by venting oxygen tanks. Due to it being work hours, Engine One only had four crewmembers. While the lieutenant and a firefighter advance with a preconnected attack line, the engineer works the pump panel and another firefighter hooks the front intake up to the hydrant. Rescue One and Squad One both arrive as the fire rages out of control. The medics start to set up a rehab area as the cylinders begin to split. Suddenly, an explosion sends gas cylinders rocketing skyward and knocks the attack crew down. As the attack crew gets up, a terrible whistle eminates from the large propane tank. The chief, recognizing the warning signs of a BLEVE, immediately orders a full evacuation. The crew of Engine One unhook the attack line as the chief drops the 5 inch. With everything disconnected, its a race to get clear in time. The whistling grows stronger and more tanks catch fire. The large tank splits on a seam releasing huge quantities of highly volitile boiling gasses. The gasses caught fire, producing one humungous fireball. Everything is flattened. With the area devestated and the danger reduced, units from PVFD and Oak Creek move in to contain the wreckage. The incident took many more hours until it was completely under control. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt. One member of the attack crew that got knocked down suffered a mild concussion and many had cuts and scrapes. Rescue One suffered a dent from flying debris.


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