Thursday, July 30, 2009

Yamhill County Fire at the Fair

Yamhill County Fair Incident

Yesterday evening an explosion and fire occurred at the Fair at one of the concession booths almost directly across the pathway from the Delashmutt Arena building.

According to one of the vendors and the booth operator, a leak somehow developed in a large propane bottle or the hose from the bottle and the pooled propane vapors ignited in a vigorous explosion. The explosion and fire destroyed an aluminum ladder at the site, burned the right rear corner of the tenting material, a large pile of supplies used by the operator and destroyed much of the site next door.

The propane bottle involved fell over making it difficult to extinguish the blaze. Two other large propane bottles survived the event without incident .

Two Yamhill County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members who were in the area on a break from duties at the rear gate, were credited by the concession operator, her brother (who also assisted in extinguishing the blaze) and a supplier, with taking a proactive position in assuming control of initial response activities.

One of the CERT men ensured that 911 was called, while the other grabbed a fire extinguisher and attacked the fire. The booth operators’ brother was assisting as was the second CERT member. A Yamhill County inmate also assisted by directing a steam of water from a garden hose on the pile of combustibles. Hats off to all four gents.

Together, this collection of men who chose to act rather than watch, saved the situation from becoming something MUCH more serious. If the fire had not been extinguished quickly, there was a risk of one or more of the tanks exploding and this is one of the great concerns for firefighters, the explosion of a pressure vessel containing flammable material. A potential MAJOR emergency was averted by quick thinking!

Coincidentally, the CERT members had recently completed the CERT course that included instruction on the proper use of a fire extinguisher. One of the CERT men remarked that it was just like he was taught in the class: a slow and methodical approach using proper techniques works well.

This incident also demonstrates the absolute need for the regulations that are in place requiring these vendors to have fire extinguishers on site.

Congratulations and THANK YOU to all involved.

Doug McGillivray

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, do you think they'll fine the vendor for this? Or charge them? It seems kinda irresponsible not to have some method of checking your flammables for problems on a regular basis, considering it had time to pool and condense.