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Jun-24-2006 01:18printcomments

Major Fire Erupts at Biodiesel Manufacturing Site

Biodiesel fire in Canby
Photo courtesy: Canby Fire

(CANBY) - At approximately 3:45 PM the Clackamas 911 center received a call for smoke in the area on S Heinze Rd, in the rural area surrounding Canby. Within minutes several calls started to pour into CCOM stating that there was large amounts of Black smoke "Billowing" from a residence located at 9801 S. Heinze Rd.

Canby Fire arrived on scene at 3:55 PM and quickly determined that there was heavy fire involvement to one barn and that flames were threatening a barn 30 feet to the south.

Minutes into fire suppression activities it was apparent that this was no ordinary fire. "We kept sweeping the fire down, and it kept flaring right back," stated Captain Val Codino. "The fire was burning with tremendous intensity, more so than would normally be encounter in a typical structure fire."

Firefighters realized that what was burning was nearly 500 gallons of Biodiesel that had once been stored in 275 gallon plastic tanks, which melted in the fire causing the combustible liquid to spill from the tanks freely burn. "When we arrived it looked like a fuel refinery fire," exclaimed Captain Codino. "Once we found out that we were battling Biodiesel, all the black smoke and intense heat we were encountering made since."

Jeff Bryant, owner and operator of Sunbreak Biofuels both manufactures Biodiesel and also brokers Bio-diesel from his rural location. In total, firefighters believe that there were approximately 1000 gallons of Biodiesel on site, and as much as 300 gallons of Methanol. None of the Methanol was ignited in the fire.

Not only were firefighter concerned with the fire hazards of Biodiesel, but also the environmental impact, since several gallons of Biodiesel spilled from a heat damaged Biodiesel tank. During a consult with Hazardous Materials Consultants firefighters found that Biodiesel does not pose much in the way of environmental concerns, being 100% Biodegradable.

From a fire perspective Biodiesel does burn quite violently once ignited, but Biodiesel tends to be much more stable having a flashpoint of nearly 300 degrees, compared to Diesel, which has a flashpoint of 125 degrees, and gasoline, with a flashpoint of �40 degrees.

* Flashpoint is the minimum temperature at which a liquid will give off sufficient vapor to form an ignitable mixture with air…in other words Gasoline can be easily ignited at very low temperatures, diesel must be heated to 125 degrees to emit an ignitable vapor, and Biodiesel requires temperatures of almost 300 degrees before it can ignite, which makes Biodiesel much more stable.

Firefighters from Canby, Monitor, and Aurora battled the fire which was brought under control in 45 minutes. The fire is still under investigation, however, fire investigators do not believe that the Biodiesel manufacturing process started the blaze.


Internal Comments are Closed on this story.

kozel September 2, 2007 1:37 pm (Pacific time)

my name is kozel! are you?

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