(96a) Lessons Learned from the 2006 Facility Explosion in Danvers, MA
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - 1:30pm to 2:00pm
On November 22, 2006 the largest explosion in the history of Massachusetts occurred in Danvers, MA at approximately 2:46 am. The explosion and resulting fire occurred at an ink and paint manufacturing facility. The facility was unoccupied when the explosion occurred. The blast destroyed the facility and caused significant damage to the surrounding property and structures. It was reported that approximately 17 to 19 structures were damaged beyond repair as a result of the blast wave and that community damage was the worst witnessed in the 10-year history of the CSB. Approximately a dozen individuals sustained minor injuries and no fatalities were reported as a result of the incident.
The paper presents a detailed analysis into the potential causes and lessons learned from the Danvers explosion. This paper will present analyses that contradict proposed scenarios into the cause and origin of the explosion and discuss other potential causes not considered by other investigative groups. These analyses include results from ground-penetrating radar and soil gas sampling in the area surrounding the facility. In addition, the CFD tool FLACS was utilized in the present investigation to simulate the chain of events leading to the explosion and included: (1) evaluating various leak scenarios by modeling the dispersion and mixing of gases and vapors within the facility, (2) evaluating potential ignition sources of the combustible fuel-air mixtures within the facility and (3) evaluating the explosion itself by comparing the resulting over-pressures of the combusting fuel-air cloud with the structural response of the facility and the observed far field blast damage.
Based on the results of our detailed analysis, various methods for mitigating this and future explosions are discussed.
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