Fire at Work
Ok, not our plant but the recycling center next to us went up in flames. apparently they use wire to tie together giant bundles of compacted paper/trash. well i guess they were dragging one across the cement, and what happens when metal is dragged across cement? yeah, it either sparked under the bail or got so hot from friction it became a hot soldering iron and caught one bail on fire. the forklift guy, not knowing there were flames under the bail, threw it in with another pile.
at which point my mom(our receptionist) notices smoke and goes outside to make sure it wasnt our plant(we have 3 large buildings) and notices its the recycling center. i guess she walked over and said they looked like they were just doing a controlled fire of just a pile of bundles. somehow one bundle fell over and landed right next to another pile, which instantly went up. that pile went to the next and so forth and so on.
the recycling center is closest to our largest buildings (marked building 3 in Picture) that holds our largest panel line(we are one of the largest manufacturers of urethane insulated metal panel systems). this is THE line that can produce something like 50,000 square feet of 3.5' wide panels per day at full capacity, that is, if we could feed it enough coil/raw materials fast enough. this building houses numerous chemicals for the foaming process that takes place, if it were to have a fire, its likely all three buildings would melt to their pads from the heat of the resulting fire. our men scrambled to move flammable tanks and equipment from that side of the building, we had all forklifts moving **** like mad, all our junk coil packaging had to be thrown inside in matter of minutes, all hands on deck fire drill.
the fire jumped piles numerous times. the fire department was very strategic in how they fought this beast, but was very limited due to the nature of materials they were fighting. once one pile erupted, it would burn with immense heat. the bundles are compressed paper/cardboard, each bundle had a ****load of fuel and burning time, multiply that by about 10 bundles wide by 10 bundles long and 6 bundles tall to create a pile. as soon as a spot of a pile was smothered with water, you could see how wet it got, but a second or two later, the resulting heat would have it dried out and smoking and in a few more seconds that spot would light back up.
there was a storage shed sort of structure that housed alot of the bundles as well. once the fire reached it it was a lost cause. the heat coming off this thing made it into sort of an convection oven, since the high side of the eaves were pointing toward us, you could just feel the radiation. the heat melted the steel skins of the building within seconds. the rest of the steel framing lasted a good couple minutes, but one by one each main pylon just melted to its foundation in a sound i cannot describe, scary screeching moan sort of sound.
the fire then jumped once more and headed towards a long pile that went all the way and stopped a good 30 feet from our property line. thankfully, the wind was going in the opposite direction of our building, so the fire had a tough time going against the wind, and about a week ago they cleaned out a good 30 foot access route between their property line and the piles.
then the fire department got fed up with wasting time. 2 HUGE ****ING bulldozers came in. they gangraped each pile so to spread the heat, and it wasnt long before the fire was controlled enough to where you were like "dammit, nothings gonna explode"
the fire started at around 2:30 and was over at 4. i guess we made the evening news, and our CEO's interview was on it as well. im in the background (w00t) on them i guess.
two things that could have made the day 100x worse.
1) if the winds were northerly, the fire would have rushed straight to our building within seconds instead of working its way around.
2) if they didnt have a break between our property line and their piles
enjoy my crummy pics!
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