La Porte, TX – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will hold a public business meeting this week to discuss the status of current investigations at DuPont in La Porte, Texas and West Fertilizer in West, Texas, and the board’s members will discuss and may vote on the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. investigation report. That investigation concerns a massive fire at Caribbean Petroleum’s Bayamon, Puerto Rico, tank farm on Oct. 23, 2009. CSB on-scene representatives shortly afterward said accidental overfilling of a gasoline storage tank apparently created a gasoline vapor cloud that ignited, and they added that the Bayamon blast and subsequent fire closely resembled the 2005 incident at Total UK’s Buncefield fuel depot near London.
Investigator-in-Charge Jeffrey Wanko, P.E., said operational personnel at the Bayamon depot’s control center could not monitor liquid levels in the tank that overfilled on their computers that night; they had to stand beside the tank and read a gauge indicating the level inside, he said.
Only seven people were on site at the time of the Bayamon blast, when the gasoline tank was being filled with gasoline from a ship docked at the facility — two security guards, three Caribbean Petroleum employees, and two contract employees. He said the last time an employee was near the gasoline tank that night to check it was 11:20 p.m., an hour before the cloud was seen and the explosion occurred.
Also on the agenda are a staff presentation on the calendared recommendation to BP resulting from CSB’s investigation of the 2005 BP America refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas, and staff reports on recommendations related to California’s draft Process Safety Management rules and laboratory safety guidelines from the American Chemical Society.