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Dion Oil Company cargo tank explosion and fire, Key West, Florida, June 29, 1998
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Event Summary

Board Meeting : Dion Oil Company cargo tank explosion and fire, Key West, Florida, June 29, 1998
 
4/20/1999 12:00 AM

Executive Summary

About 5:14 a.m., eastern daylight time, on June 29, 1998, at Stock Island, Key West, Florida, a Dion Oil Company (Dion) driver was on top of a straight-truck cargo tank checking the contents of its compartments and preparing to transfer cargo from a semitrailer cargo tank when explosive vapors ignited within the straight-truck cargo tank. The ignition caused an explosion that threw the driver from the top of the truck. The fire and a series of at least three explosions injured the driver and destroyed the straight truck, a tractor, the front of the semitrailer, and a second nearby straight-truck cargo tank. Damage was estimated at more than $185,000. As a result of its investigation of the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board identified three major safety issues:

  • The adequacy of Dion's product-transfer procedures and training.
  • The adequacy of the Federal Highway Administration's oversight of motor carriers' procedures and training for loading and unloading hazardous materials.
  • The adequacy of Florida's oversight of the fire safety of storage tanks.

 

Probable Cause

The Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was Dion's lack of adequate procedures and driver training, resulting in the driver's pouring a mixture of gasoline and diesel fuel from a plastic bucket into a cargo-tank compartment that contained a mixture of explosive vapors.

As a result of its investigation of this accident, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration, Dion, the Florida State Fire Marshal, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Agriculture, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the National Fire Prevention Association, the National Association of State Fire Marshals, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs

Recommendations

As a result of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following safety recommendations:

To the Federal Highway Administration:

Add elements to training programs for Federal and State inspectors that include instruction on determining whether motor carriers have adequate written procedures for and driver training in loading and unloading cargo tanks. (H-99-30)

Evaluate the adequacy of cargo-tank loading and unloading procedures of and driver training for hazardous-materials motor carriers and require changes as appropriate. (H-99-31)

Issue an "On Guard" bulletin to emphasize the danger of splash filling materials into cargo compartments and of switch loading materials having flash points at or above 100° F (National Fire Protection Association Class II and III liquids) into compartments that last contained materials having flash points below 100° F (National Fire Protection Association Class I liquid). (H-99-32)

To Dion Oil Company:

Establish written procedures for safely loading and unloading cargo tanks. (H-99-33)

Give drivers function-specific training on the written procedures developed in conjunction with Safety Recommendation H-99-33. The training should explain the danger of discharging static electricity when flammable liquids are poured into open cargo-tank compartments that contain explosive vapors, the danger of transferring flammable liquids between cargo tanks that are not bonded, and the danger of explosive vapors produced by switch loading gasoline and diesel fuels. (H-99-34)

To the Florida State Fire Marshal:

Make all local jurisdictions in Florida aware of the circumstances of the fire and explosions that occurred on Stock Island, Florida, on June 29, 1998. In addition, ensure that each local jurisdiction has a program to identify and inspect cargo tanks used as storage tanks for flammable liquids to be sure the tanks meet all the fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-35)

Coordinate the help that the Florida Departments of Transportation, of Agriculture, and of Environmental Protection give local jurisdictions in identifying cargo tanks used as storage tanks for the transfer of flammable liquids to be sure that the tanks meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-36)

To the Florida Department of Transportation:

Assist the Florida State Fire Marshal in helping local jurisdictions identify cargo tanks being used as storage tanks so that the tanks can be inspected to ensure that they meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-37)

To the Florida Department of Agriculture:

Assist the Florida State Fire Marshal in helping local jurisdictions identify cargo tanks being used as storage tanks so that the tanks can be inspected to ensure that they meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-38)

To the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:

Assist the Florida State Fire Marshal in helping local jurisdictions identify cargo tanks being used as storage tanks so that the tanks can be inspected to ensure that they meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-39)

To the National Fire Prevention Association:

Make your members aware of the circumstances of the fire and explosions that occurred on Stock Island, Florida, on June 29, 1998, and urge them to develop a program to identify and inspect cargo tanks used as storage tanks for the transfer of flammable liquids to be sure that the tanks meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-40)

To the National Association of State Fire Marshals:

Make your members aware of the circumstances of the fire and explosions that occurred on Stock Island, Florida, on June 29, 1998, and urge them to develop a program to identify and inspect cargo tanks used as storage tanks for the transfer of flammable liquids to be sure that the tanks meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-41)

To the International Association of Fire Chiefs:

Make your members aware of the circumstances of the fire and explosions that occurred on Stock Island, Florida, on June 29, 1998, and urge them to develop a program to identify and inspect cargo tanks used as storage tanks for the transfer of flammable liquids to be sure that the tanks meet all fire safety standards applicable to storage tanks. (H-99-42)


 


 

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