Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This and the last posting are a bit out of sequence as the truck fire occurred before the FIREBLAST training. June 19th to be exact. Ferry County E-911 Dispatch paged out for Curlew Fire "report of fire Kinross Gold Mine K2 site." That was at 0415:hours, early Friday morning. The mine site is within half a mile of my residence thus I was the first of the fire response group on scene. The first of this short series of photographs is what the truck looked like when I arrived on scene. Cab fully engulfed to say the least.

Arriving on scene I did a safety size-up. Besides the obvious - truck on fire, I noted the following:

  1. Fire in the vehicle was at least an hour old given the amount of the truck burned.
  2. Power lines above the truck were probably still hot and possibly compromised due exposure to the heat. Possibility of tensile failure and charged lines falling.
  3. Not enough moisture in the smoke coming from the truck to pose a real problem of arching from the lines.
  4. Truck's diesel tank compromised and leaking, will need hazmat containment and recovery.
  5. Exposure - 2nd truck taking heat damage from fire, possibly compromise of mechanical systems.

Once I found a safe place to park my command vehicle I established contact with the mine employee who reported the fire upon coming to work. He provided some additional details.

Just a few minutes after my arrival WA DNR Highlands Engine 122 was the next resource on scene. Engine Leader set up a class A foam system in an 1.5 inch hoseline. Immediately afterwards Curlew engine 80 arrived on scene. The assistant Fire Chief was decked out in bunker gear and after a briefing noting the above hazards and a plan of attack, took the position of nozzle man. Other firefighters arrived and supported the effort. A mine employee started a 3,000 gallon tender and supplied water to the pumper truck

Other mine employees arriving on-shift were initially kept back from the incident scene. Although one mine employee had a good idea of using an on site 3,000 tender for water supply to the pump truck. That greatly assisted with the suppression effort. Once the fire department had the blaze knocked down the driver of the 2nd truck was allowed to move it from the exposed zone & into a safe area for inspection.

Using the heavy equipment on scene and absorbent pads the mine in coordination with the fire department established a hazmat response and contained the diesel leaking from the burning truck.

It was later determined that the truck that burned had been having electrical shorting problems. It is suspected that an electrical shortage in the truck systems started a fire which later consumed the vehicle in the early morning hours.
Link to Kinross Gold Corp
Link to Kinross Kettle River project

1 comment:

M said...

Thanks for your December 7, 2008, story about Luther Clark. I remember him, too. In 1949 my parents built the cabin closest to his towards Big Creek. It was on land that had been part of the Clark homestead, and his mother still lived by herself in a trailer by the pear trees. There was a BIG barn that collapsed soon after under heavy winter snow. Once Luther brought us a grouse for dinner and I can still see it cooking on our wood stove, yummm. Outside his cabin door was a young fir tree that he had put flat Prince Albert Tobacco cans on the ends of the branches. In 1974 Dad sold our cabin to the Park and we went to the cabin for the last time. I had a long visit with Luther then. Shortly thereafter a helicopter with cables plucked up our cabin and flew it to the Low Divide where today it is the ranger station. And Luther passed away, what a character. Kay