Saturday, September 20, 2014

Worker critically burned in blast

A mill employee is in critical condition after a dust explosion yesterday morning at the biomass boiler here.
The male, who was not named, has been hospitalized in Toronto with burn injuries.

Fort Frances Fire Chief Frank Sheppard said firefighters will remain on the scene today to investigate the cause of the mishap.
It is known there was an explosion, which resulted in a small fire that was extinguished promptly.
Chief Sheppard said the blaze was contained mostly within boiler equipment, but partly escaped out into the area where the worker was injured.
“There was a lot of small spot fires and hotspots around where materials had blown out,” he noted.
“From a fire perspective, it was relatively small,” he added.
“But from an explosion perspective, it was significant.”
While the investigation is ongoing, Chief Sheppard said a dust explosion, which is the fast combustion of dust
particles suspended in the air in an enclosed location, is a “logical hypothesis” of what occurred.
The combination of fine particulate, low humidity, and a source of ignition (i.e., heat, static electricity, friction, etc.) can result in a dust explosion.
Once the fire department has concluded its investigation, the Office of the Fire Marshal will come in and do its part, said Chief Sheppard.
The Ministry of Labour also has been contacted.
Meanwhile, the boiler was back in operation by yesterday afternoon, said Resolute Forest Products spokesperson Xavier Van Chau.
“Our main focus remains with the employee and his family,” Van Chau noted.
“The operator’s condition is classified as critical.”

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