Explosion at Asphalt Plant

Explosion at Asphalt Plant (Georgia) An explosion and fire rocked an asphalt plant in Garden City a little after 4:30pm Monday afternoon. Citgo Asphalt officials say some kind of an internal spark caused a polymer asphalt tank to explode, setting off huge plumes of dark smoke and flames. Firefighters from Savannah and Garden City were on the scene within minutes, dousing nearby tanks with water to keep them from catching fire. Fortunately no one was injured. Citgo officials are now wondering what caused the explosion. The asphalt plant has only had two of these kinds of explosions. Both happened this month (the prior on March 3). Officials’ immediate goal is to find out what caused it and make sure a potentially disastrous situation doesn’t happen again. Within an hour, yesterday’s blaze and smoke was under control. Citgo plant manager Bruce Dahm says a worst-case scenario was avoided. “No injuries, everyone was accounted for, there was no spill in the area, no external damage,” he reported. Citgo Asphalt can hold on to its “two years with no injuries” proclamation for one more day. But firefighters say one false move on their part could have lead to an even more dangerous situation. Assistant Chief Steven Miller described the scenario: “We fight it inappropriately, we can cause it to boil over and cause problems for our personnel.” Miller says the smoke from the explosion looked ominous, but was no worse than your average structure fire. While it is a tricky situation to battle, Miller claims firefighters were familiar with the surroundings. “We trained on these wells, so we understand you cannot induce large quantities of water into it,” he said. “It changes our tactics from what we would normally do.” With two asphalt tank fires in one month, Dahm says the next step is to eliminate any chance for a third. “We’ve got to learn what caused [the explosion], then we can make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he told us.Citgo Asphalt has begun an immediate internal investigation into yesterday’s explosion. They are also asking outside tank and asphalt experts to come in and assist. Reported by: Don Logana

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