Fire Training Simulator Causes Explosion

Oct. 27, 2003
The International Association of Fire Fighters has issued a warning following a serious malfunction of a fire training simulator manufactured by Fireblast 451 Inc. of Corona, Calif.

Several fire fighters from Portland, Maine Local 740 escaped serious injury when the training simulator malfunction caused an explosion. The fire fighters were operating in full protective clothing and advancing a hoseline as part of the fire attack when the explosion occurred. The operator of the training simulator immediately shut the evolution down and the fire fighters exited the trailer.

The fire fighters, shaken by the concussion of the blast, were accounted for and assessed for injuries. Luckily, none had to be transported or relieved from duty. One fire fighter received significant damage to his fire helmet, which was cracked from impacting the wall inside the trailer. All further training evolutions with the trailer have been cancelled.

The manufacturers were notified and sent a representative immediately. The trailer was purchased by the Gorham and Windham (Maine) fire departments and was being loaned to the Portland Fire Department. It had been used twice during the week without incident.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Maine have recommended that IAFF affiliates that may be using or operating in these trailers be notified of this incident and are advised to contact the manufacturer for more information and any needed corrective measures or actions.

Given the potential severity of this incident and the inferences that safety systems and redundancies in the trailer should have not allowed this to occur, the use of these trailers should be discontinued until the cause is determined, says the IAFF.

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About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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