A fire at an Iowa feed plant Tuesday demonstrates why firefighters must be cautious and consider the effects of every action when dealing with fires in compartmented areas of manufacturing equipment. Reports stated that a fire occurred within a cooling tower, and upon firefighters opening the tower, the fire flared up.
Fires within pelleting operations are common, especially if a malfunction or power failure causes a disruption in the flow of air or product within the system. Fresh pellets are very hot when they exit the extrusion presses, due to the heat build-up from friction and pressure. If the cooling process is interrupted, the product can rapidly heat up and begin smoldering. Because these systems are designed to direct air flow in a specific manner, a cease of air flow can actually cause airtight pockets to occur within the system. A smoldering fire can then create a backdraft situation within the....
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