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Fire at Biodiesel Facility
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July 6 there was a fire at Gen-X Energy Group in Burbank Washington. The fire occurred about 3:00 am when there was no one in the facility. The facility is a total loss. The Washington State Department of Ecology esimated a spill of 30,000. The spill was contained in the drains and catchbasins. There was no contamination to the environment and the Department of Ecology was not levying any fines. Arson is suspect. A portable toilet was set fire and it spread to the building.

The principle owner, Scott Johnson, started out as a backyard hobbyist. Even though he graduated to the ranks of a commercial producer, Scott helped out this hobbyist with advice, supplies, and even tested by bio in his lab.

Gen-X Energy Group will be building another facility as soon as a location can be found.
 
Registered: February 11, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Someone started a fire in a port-a-poopy and it took out the biodiesel plant next door? Was it arson or was it the flaming nachos?

Either way, it sounds like it's a great time to own a biodiesel plant. As long as you have really good insurance. Someone will come along eventually and burn it down, from what we've seen lately.


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Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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NC Slim Jim plant explodes

"ConAgra spokesman Dave Jackson said someone called the plant over the weekend and threatened to start a fire. He said company officials don't believe the threat was connected to the explosion..."
 
Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The report I read said the guy in the porta-pooper was attempting to read the label on the bottom of a snazzy new air freshening candle while the candle was lit. Wink He says he's looking to press charges against the candel maker now.
 
Location: central virginia | Registered: March 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Thats really funny..

Pressing charges against the candle maker??

Thats a real Darwin Awards moment
 
Registered: March 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gel candles + Sewer gas + a pocket full of Slim-Jims = a fireball one could see over the horizon.

Lessons learned?

-Never light a candle to find a gas leak.

-The quarter you dropped down there isn't worth looking for - even if you throw a five down after it for motivation.

-An ounce of prevention is worth 200,000 pounds of beef jerky.
 
Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh...
Slim Jim Meat processing plant.

I was thinking about the Slim Jim Car Theft Devices... and perhaps someone upset about having their car nabbed.

As far as the gas in portapotty thing... That was covered in a Myth Busters Episode.
One has to try awfully hard to make one explode.
And, you'd have to be awfully desperate to enter a portapotty with an explosive amount of methane inside.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok,
(ouch, somehow I lost half my post Frown)
Back on topic and to the Burbank Washington Fire.
http://www.spokesman.com/stori...under-investigation/
quote:
Benavides said fire officials told him the blaze started outside in a portable toilet on the northwest corner of the facility and may have been related to fireworks.

The plant was not operating at the time and the fire was not related to any operational aspect of the facility, he told the Tri-City Herald.
[...]
Officials say the facility at the Port of Walla Walla’s Burbank Industrial Facility is not structurally stable after the fire.

The plant will be idle, but company officials are making plans to select a new site for production at the port in the next 48 hours, said Ramon Benavides, vice president of business development for Gen-X Energy Group.


I found a couple of photos and a short video:
http://www.kndu.com/Global/story.asp?S=10652539
Unfortunately, my sound messed up, so I'll have to listen to the video later.



Anyway, looking at the half-full totes in the foreground of the second image, and the pile of totes in the background. I'm wondering if this was a pretty amateurish setup.

They did show an image of one tank that was a little scorched on the outside, but it didn't look like its integrity was compromised.

What did they have going on inside the plant? What spilled the 30,000 gallons of oil?

Plastic Tanks & processors? Plastic, of course, is chemical resistant, but not very robust to insults.

If all their tanks had been built like propane tanks.
And they transfered all "totes" (why totes?) to steel holding tanks immediately.
Perhaps underground storage.
All metal piping.
And, they had sequestered any methanol totes in an isolated concrete structure.
And, they had a building that was made of steel over steel (or concrete).

Then the story would likely have gone something like:
Outhouse fire at local BD plant. One firetruck responded. Flames were isolated to the portapotty and were quenched in seconds.
Metro Sewage responded to 5 gallon spill of portapotty contents without EPA involvement.

It almost sounds to me that this was an inside job.
Old, shabby plant.
New contract for 1 billion gallons of BD
Time to relocate.
Get the insurance company to pay for a fancy new plant.

http://www.spokesman.com/stori...under-investigation/
quote:
The facility was running at about half capacity, producing about 7,200 gallons a day. Benavides said the company had just received a three-year contract to produce over 1 billion gallons of biodiesel.

Are those numbers correct? 1 Billion Gallons is about 1000 times their current capacity.

No wonder they had to torch their existing plant.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If something positive can be gained from this fire, it's that if you build the facility properly with the "worst case scenario" in mind, you'll do well from an environmental standpoint if there ever is a fire and possible leak.

ie. The 30,000 gallons of oil that were contained in the facilities drains.

Sounds like someone did some good engineering on the plant design from a spill protection perspective.

Maybe foam spraying sprinklers installed in the building would've helped contain the blaze, but at least in this case, the emergency systems built into the facility to protect the environment worked.

-Graydon




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Location: Utah | Registered: October 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Graydon Blair:
ie. The 30,000 gallons of oil that were contained in the facilities drains.

Sorry my previous post got mangled a bit.

That is a good point about the facility drains.

I suppose one question might be WHERE did they drain 30,000 gallons of fuel?

Did they have an on site catch basin capable of holding 30,000 gallons of oil?

Storm Drain? Treated?

Local Sewage Treatment Facility. They will be happy with 30,000 gallons of oil added to their waste stream, although perhaps it could be recovered from the sewage plant... that would be a messy job!!!!!!!
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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