Fixed fire fighting foam system results in tragedy at a US Air Force base

Published:  16 January, 2014

US Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates the cause of an incident that killed one man and injured three others.

31-year-old Jonathan Lord (Valparaiso) died after a large amount of fire fighting foam was released into the hangar on January 8. He had worked as a contractor for Defense Support Services at Eglin (northwest Florida) since 2006.

The three injured people (also contractors) were treated for foam inhalation problems and released shortly after the incident.

What caused the system to trigger the release of foam is yet to be ascertained. A similar incident in occurred in Eglin's King Hangar in 2012, which resulted in foam 10-12 feet deep. Eglin is geographically the US' largest Air Force base.

The fire suppression system in the 90,000-square-foot maintenance hangar has 24 foam generators hanging from the ceiling.

Two operational F-15s were in the hangar when the foam was released, as were a non-operational F-15, F-16 and an A-10 used for educational purposes.

Following the news, a spokesperson at JOIFF – the international association for industrial hazard management – pointed out that this was the second fixed fire-fighting system fatality that had come to its attention in as many days, and advised its members: ‘Take care you fully understand the operational conditions under which a discharge of the fire fighting system can occur. Also note the potential impact it can have on personnel operating in the same space.  Check your safe working practices in and around these systems and whether safety interlocks are required to be activated when personnel are present.  Know intimately your fire-fighting systems and keep safe.’

See video of a test discharge of the same system in 2009:

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.

Calendar