The Storage of Explosives

The Storage of Explosives

In Bulletin 17, Bureau of Mines (1911), the statements of B. W. Dunn in his article entitled “Safe Shipment and Storage of Explosives” might be of value to fire chiefs. Mr. Dunn gives an account of how in June, 1909, the chief inspector of the bureau of explosives of the American Railway Association called the attention of the manufacturers of explosives to the danger of storing such material in the vicinity of railway property; and how the manufacturers selected a committee which collected data covering over 130 explosions. In the article is included the following table (given here in a condensed form), which is based upon the work and conclusions of this committee:

Minimum distances betideen barricaded magazines and railways or inhabited dwellings.

Mr. Dunn states that although this table lias not been sanctioned by law, it will probably be accepted as a guide in legal prosecutions. In regard to the storage of explosives, he writes as follows: “Explosives should be protected as far as practicable during storage against heat, moisture, fire, lightning, projectiles and theft. The buildings should therefore be weatherproof, covered by fireproof and bullet-proof material, wellventilated, in secluded locations, and not exposed to fire risk from grass or underbrush. Lightning protectors are best placed on a line of supports encircling the building and 20 to 30 feet distant from it.” Plans and sections of an approved type of magazine arc given. They show the corrugated galvanized iron roof and the purlins and rafters beneath, the spaces between which being filled with mineral wool. The galvanized iron cornice joins the iron roof with tile 8-inch brick wall, making it seem well-nigh impossible for fire to enter. Parts of this bulletin, which can be obtained from the Bureau of Mines, Washington, D. C, would prove interesting reading for firemen.

THE STORAGE OF EXPLOSIVES.

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THE STORAGE OF EXPLOSIVES.

A mix to restrict the storage of explosives and combustibles in this city and to regulate the amount of combustibles that may be kept in any one establishment passed the State legislature last session, and is now in the hands of Mayor Van Wyck for consideration us to whether he will veto or sign it. On Wednesday a public hearing was afforded its supporters and opponents (if any there were) before the mayor, at which those in favor of its passing into law had it all their own way. Inspector Murray, of the city’s bureau of combustibles, held a brief for the measure, and explained its clauses at some length. He proved the necessity for the passage of the bill, and adverted to the many fatal and destructive explosions which had taken place in New York, especially that in the Tarrant building on Warren and Greenwich streets last October, when such a vast area of property was burned aud otherwise damaged, entailing an enormous pecuniary loss, accompanied unfortunately by the sacrifice of human life. He showed that, unless some far more vigorous restrictions were placed upon the storage of explosives and combnstlbies,a repetition of the Tarrant disaster was jiossible any moment. Andrew B. Kogers, representing the chemical branch of the Merchants’ Association of New York City followed, and advanced similar arguments, which being those of an expert, were, of course, entitled to considerable weight. Mayor Van Wyck said he would look at ” the bill, and with that the hearing came to an end. It is to be hoped that the mayor will do more than mereiy “look at’’the bill; that ho will study it attentively, and give due heed to the arguments advanced in its favor by bis own inspector of the bureau of combustibles—who ought to know something about the subject—and by Mr. Kogers, who certainly is an authority in the matter. The question is one which vitally concerns the lives of hundreds in this city, and by shirking it, as he certainly will if he vetoes the bill, the responsibility for the consequences will rest upon his shoulders. We can hardly imagine, however, that the mayor will refuse to attach his signature to a measure of such importance—one which, so far, at least, as those not behind the scenes can judge—is utterly outside the domain of party or politics, and, as such, is to be estimated solely upon its own merits. The bill itself is a good one, though hardly as strong as it might be. Still, if the bureau of combustibles does its duty, and is managed by competent men who have acquired a sufficient knowledge of the science of explosives and combustibles, and, if the inspectors are honest men who will do their duty without fear or favor, the danger arising from the storage of such goods will, at all events, be considerably lessened.