Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Flash - Barge Fire Cicero & 40th Chicago

Just saw a helicopter shot of a petroleum barge fire just south of the Citgo Tank farm on Cicero Ave. The after half of the barge is afire. A tugboat has manuevered the barge so that its stern is pinned against a piling about 1/3 rd the way out into the river. The report stated that some large chunk had been blown off the barge onto the Cicero Ave. bridge.
Scientific Wild Assed Guess (SWAG) -The barge contains asphalt or some similar heavy petroleum product that needs to be heated to lower the viscosity enough to pump. There was a failure in the heating system located in the deckhouse, which ignited, blowing the house onto the bridge and starting a bigger fire.
Attack - There is a report the Fire Department is bringing a foam truck from Midway Airport. That should suffice! Keep the adjoining tanks full (so there is no airspace; a fire needs fuel, a source of ignition but also air - no air = no fire). Then pump out the contents of the fire involved tanks, if possible, to remove fuel and reduce the potential for a pollution event.
Update - By the end of the local news at 5:30 PM, the barge had sunk ending the fire phase. It now becomes an oil spill/salvage operation. The salvage could make an interesting story as you do not want the canal blocked for long!


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