$10 Million Spent for Aerosol Plant Fire Safety
A $10 million industrial fire protection program has been completed by Peterson/Puritan, Inc., a large aerosol packager with plants in Danville and Momence, Ill.; Cumberland, R. I.; and Santa Ke Springs, Calif.
Each plant now reflects state-of-theart safety for filling aerosol products. As a central feature of fire protection, all hydrocarbon storage tank areas have suppression systems, designed according to the size and number of tanks at a plant. Tank sizes range from 8000 to 30,000 gallons. Rail and truck unloading areas are also protected.
Piped monitors discharge enough water 700 gpm each—to cool the tanks in the event of fire. The monitors can be redirected manually to cover another area, including plant and warehouse buildings. The monitors are automatically activated by temperature rateof-rise detectors throughout the tank farms.
Adequate water supply
Fortunately, water supply is not a problem. In Rhode Island and California, systems are hooked into city water supplies. In Illinois, both plants have their own reservoirs, which can supply sufficient water for more than two hours. Ten-inch water mains were installed, with 8 and 6-inch feed to monitors.
A specially constructed fire pond at Danville holds 8 million gallons of water. An electric and a diesel pump at Danville can together deliver up to 5000 gpm to t he water cannons. A pressure of up to 180 psi can be produced before the pressure-relief valve goes off. The smaller pumps in Momence can provide 2500 gpm.
Water is also supplied to fusible-link wet and dry sprinkler systems throughout the plants, and to standpipe systems.
All plants have a manual foam system. The aqueous film-forming foam can be applied by hand using an eductor attached to fire hose.
Pipes carrying propellant from tanks to gassing houses, where the container filling is done, are all underground. To avoid any propellant loss, a novel manifold system was created. It has a quick-disconnect rigid pipe, eliminating rubber and plastic in that critical area. There is a separate manifold next to each house, rather than a single manifold at the tanks.
The gas houses have 12-inch steelreinforced poured concrete walls. Insulated steel blowout panels were installed to automatically fall away during an explosion, so that the pressure release is either up or away from the rest of the plant.
A deluge suppression system inside each gas house can discharge up to 400 gpm after activation of a heat or infrared-sensing detector.
Two hydrocarbon propellant detectors in each house prevent a gas buildup by controlling a high-velocity ventilation system. An excessive amount of gas would also trigger an alarm and shut down the gassers. One air change is then possible every 20 seconds.
Compounding areas, with batch tanks arranging in size from 300 to 6000 gallons, also required special safeguards. The danger there is not from the propellant but from the other ingredients put into aerosol containers. Even everyday equipment items had to be explosionproof, and that was expensive. The protected wall clocks cost $400 and telephone cost $500.