Firefighting

SILO EXPLOSION

Issue 4 and Volume 159.

BY MARK COTTER The Salisbury (MD) Fire Department (SFD) was alerted at 0917 hours on Wednesday, December 21, 2005, for an automatic fire alarm at the Maxum Yacht plant on Naylor Mill Road. Engine 1-1 responded, staffed with Lieutenant Richard Rathel, Firefighter/EMT-B Joseph Derbyshire, and Firefighter/EMT-B Christopher Rathel, son of the officer. Both the engine and its officer were specially detailed to that station for the day. Maxum Yachts manufactures fiberglass pleasure cruisers in a 140,000-square-foot factory employing almost 200 workers. The process includes cutting wood framing and trim, laying down fiberglass and epoxy material, and painting, each of which presents distinct fire hazards. In fact, the plant has its own fire brigade, which drills regularly. Automatic alarms at the facility are not uncommon. On arrival at the facility at 0921 hours, the Engine 1-1 crew was directed to a hopper, or silo, containing waste sawdust that was vacuumed from…

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