Chapter 6 Fires and Explosions

Chemicals present a substantial hazard in the form of fires and explosions. The combustion of one gallon of toluene can destroy an ordinary chemistry laboratory in minutes; persons present may be killed. The potential consequences of fires and explosions in pilot plants and plant environments are even greater.

The three most common chemical plant accidents are fires, explosions, and toxic releases, in that order (see chapter 1). Organic solvents are the most common source of fires and explosions in the chemical industry.

Chemical and hydrocarbon plant losses resulting from fires and explosions are substantial, with yearly property losses in the United States estimated at almost $300 million (1997 dollars).1 Additional ...

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