PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) - Two workers were found dead Thursday
afternoon after apparently suffocating in a large stainless steel
tank at a natural foods manufacturing plant.
Rescue crews responded around 2:30 p.m. to Spectrum Naturals
Inc., and found the pair unconscious in an empty tank that company
officials said had been filled with deadly argon gas as part of a
cleaning process to expunge oxygen.
Firefighters said they had to pump oxygen into the tank before
they could pull out the men, who authorities identified as
Francisco Estrella and Javier Del Rio. The 12-foot high tank is
used to process flax seed oil for organic foods, culinary oils and
"It's not clear whether the person fell in or was cleaning the
tank," Petaluma Fire Marshall Mike Ginn said. "It appears that
another employee attempted a rescue."
State safety investigators and the Sonoma County district
attorney interviewed plant workers and company officials about the
"This is a really close knit group that works here," Jethren
Phillips, Spectrum's chief executive officer, told the Santa Rosa
Press Democrat. "We're devastated."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
Comments anyone? What's your Dept. SOP on tank rescue or recovery?
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Thread: Tank Recovery
04-26-2002, 04:03 AM #1
04-27-2002, 07:27 AM #2
They probably meant that the FD ventilated the tank before effecting rescue/recovery. I think the standard is 4 air exchanges if my memory serves me correct. the first thing we would do would to monitor and ventilate while the CSR team is setting up rigging and all that, by the time you are ready to enter the tank unless there is a source of deadly IDLH gas going into the tank it should be clear, but youll be monitroing to determine that. Since it was an IDLH atmosphere to begin with Id go in on air because you could run into a bad pocket of air in the tank so just to be safe id want to be on air, but really if you have over-pressurized the tank with clean air and have monitored at all levels it should be good, but i dont like to rely on what it should be, things happen especially in technical rescue so id error on being overly safe.
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