Foam Tames River of Gasoline After Break In Pipeline

Foam Tames River of Gasoline After Break In Pipeline

High expansion foam blankets gasoline in drainage channel. Los Angeles County foam generator truck is at left center—Los Angeles County F.D. photo.



Use of high expansion foam by Los Angeles County fire fighters averted a potential disaster when a bulldozer broke an 8-inch pipeline, causing 30,000 gallons of gasoline to spew into a concrete drainage channel in a residential area near Los Angeles Harbor.

The gasoline was being pumped at 900 psi when the bulldozer struck the pipe last August 13. When pumping station metering devices showed the pressure drop, the line was shut down.

Engines 36, 6 and 127, Truck 127, Foam 127, and Squad 36 responded on the first alarm. When first-in units arrived, only residual fuel was still flowing, thanks to the shutdown by the oil company, but gasoline was 6 to 8 inches deep in the 10-foot-wide channel.

The first-in company stopped a dump truck loaded with sand, cut a chain link fence along the channel, and had the driver dump his load. The sand was spread across the channel to dam the gasoline.

Chief Wray Nansel called for Foam 3 and Engines 95 and 245 and began operations to cover the fuel with high expansion foam. Sheriff’s units evacuated all homes along the channel and firemen quickly extinguished pilot lights. Nansel said he feared the wooden roofs on all 40 houses paralleling the channel all going at once.

The foam held off any fire and vacuum trucks were brought in to clear the channel of gasoline.

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