With regard to the second story below, I believe that there will be a biofuels symposia as part of the CHAS program in San Francisco. === http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20091203-23691.html Germany Eight students injured in laboratory chemical accident Published: 3 Dec 09 08:10 CET Eight students were injured in a chemical laboratory accident on Wednesday night at the University of Karlsruhe, police reported. A 22-year-old student at the Institute for Organic Chemistry there had been trying to neutralise a substance, but accidentally used the wrong material, police in the southwestern state of Baden-W=FCrttemberg said. The mistake created a poisonous mixture that was released into the laboratory where other students were also working. Eight people were transported to a nearby clinic after complaining of discomfort, and five remained hospitalised for observation. They reportedly suffered irritation of their mucous membranes. The teaching laboratory was fumigated and cleaned and can now be safely used by students again, police said. DDP/The Local (news**At_Symbol_Here**thelocal.de) === http://www.thedailyworld.com/articles/2009/12/03/local_news/doc4b180ace0df 20062417388.txt Washington state No health danger, officials say By Callie White, Jacob jones and Jillian Beaudry -The Daily World Thursday, December 3, 2009 11:12 AM PST JACOB JONES | THE DAILY WORLD Hoquiam firefighters and Imperium Grays Harbor workers inspect the area where a 10,000-gallon glycerin tank exploded Wednesday, sending debris flying more than 100 feet. A large section damaged the biodiesel plant=92s chain-link fence, at bottom right. The black residue is glycerin resin, according to the company. Cleanup crews have been dispatched and Imperium Grays Harbor employees were back on-site today to start picking up the pieces after the biodiesel plant was rocked yesterday afternoon by a large explosion that caused a tank to leak sulfuric acid. The acid was contained on the site, but some businesses in the area were evacuated as a precaution. The blast hit the plant, which is in Hoquiam near the city=92s border with Aberdeen, at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, rattling windows in the area and sending out a boom that could be heard for miles. No one was injured in the blast, said Hoquiam Assistant Fire Chief Paul Dean. There were six employees at the plant when the explosion occurred. The explosion started when a 10,000 gallon tank being used to mix glycerin and sulfuric acid apparently became overpressurized, according to John Williams, Imperium spokesman, in a press release. The tank was completely destroyed. =93We don=92t know why it was overpressurized,=94 Williams said today. He said glycerin is not an explosive substance, and in the mixing tank it is neutralized further by the addition of acid. He added that there was no fire at any point. Black streaks on nearby tanks looked like charring in news footage and photos, but Williams said that was the glycerin, which he described as similar in color and texture to molasses. A large piece of the glycerin tank blew about 100 feet, crashing through Imperium=92s chain link security fence. The explosion damaged pipes and two adjacent tanks, one containing biodiesel and another containing sulfuric acid, which ruptured. The biodiesel tank was intact and there was no leak, Williams said. Officials estimated about 500 gallons of sulfuric acid leaked out of a tank that had about 1,200 to 1,500 gallons in it at the time of the explosion. Much of the acid ran into containment areas built at the plant for just such an emergency, safety officials said. It stopped leaking when the level fell below the point of the rupture, Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers said. Safety officials yesterday were worried about the acid evaporating into the air and becoming a health concern. State Department of Ecology officials monitoring air quality in the nearby neighborhoods later said levels were safe. The plant is built slightly below ground level on a flat sheet of concrete that is surrounded by concrete walls. It is a containment area specifically to address this sort of emergency, Williams said. An Imperium employee briefing safety officials said there was a pool approximately two inches deep of glycerin, sulfuric acid and water. =93The processing tank and other tanks are located in a fully contained area, and as such the liquids and other materials do not pose a threat to the area,=94 Williams stated. A private cleanup crew arrived about 3:30 p.m. yesterday. Imperium is responsible for the cleanup of the acid and sealing the sulfuric acid tank. The crew, from the company CCS, also known as Cowlitz Clean Sweep, will begin neutralizing the acid and vacuuming up the liquids into tanker trucks =93as fast as possible,=94 Williams said. However, the companies are still assessing how, exactly, to put that plan into effect. An Imperium employee confirmed the plant had been producing biodiesel after restarting earlier this year. The plant had exported two recent shipments, including one on Nov. 24, according to Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson. Production at the plant had been suspended earlier because of market conditions. The company has shut down operation of the plant until the extent of the damage can be determined. Company officials will conduct an investigation when they have full access to the incident area, Williams said. So far, he said, company employees did a walk-through with safety officials, determining that there was no risk of further explosions. As fire crews reviewed chemical safety manuals and consulted Imperium employees yesterday, Dean said crews were not taking any chances with the leaking chemicals. =93Our personnel are wearing breathing apparatus,=94 he said. Officials evacuated businesses immediately west of the biodiesel plant. Affected businesses included Paneltech, Westport Shipyard, the Longshoreman=92s Union Hall containing its Credit Union and assorted warehouse businesses. The Port=92s 28th Street dock, a popular spot with sightseers, was closed down, as was the street. Grays Harbor Paper was informed of the sulfuric acid, but aside from a warehouse it owns, was not considered to be downwind. State Department of Ecology officials and federal Environmental Protection Agency officials established air quality monitoring systems at the plant. At about 11 p.m., officials determined that it was safe for the businesses to start up, said Chief Myers. Myers said the evacuation plans could have been much more extensive if the wind had not been blowing out to sea at about 10-15 m.p.h. at about 3 p.m. =93Normally, this time of day, it would be blowing into town,=94 he said yesterday. All things considered, =93the conditions couldn=92t get any better than this,=94 Myers said. Firefighters repeatedly checked on weather conditions as they feared shifting winds could carry fumes into residential areas. =93If we can keep that wind that=92s a godsend,=94 said Hoquiam Fire Department incident commander Capt. Chuck Bates. He was concerned about the onset of nightfall, a time when winds begin to shift back to shore and die down. Bates was concerned that a 3-mile radius around the plant, including residential areas, might be forced to =93shelter in place.=94 That would mean staying in homes or offices with windows and doors shut, heating and air conditioning systems connected to outside air turned off. Chuck Wallace, deputy director of the county=92s Emergency Management department, said local departments led the response and containment of the explosion. He monitored the situation by checking in with emergency responders and hospitals. =93They did a really, really good job,=94 he said of fire and police responders. =93They did exactly what they were supposed to do.=94 Myers credited the company for its reaction to the emergency. =93The company was very responsive and responsible,=94 he said. Firefighters and private chemical crews inspected many parts of the plant. As darkness fell last night, Bates, the incident commander, worked with Imperium employees to shut down some automatic lighting to avoid any unpredictable sources of electricity or spark. =93Are the lights explosion-proof?=94 Bates asked Imperium employees, quickly adding, =93Well, you guys are pretty much set up that way =97 except you exploded.=94 Set in an industrial area with few windows trained on it, there were scant eyewitnesses outside the company to the explosion. Myers said he knew something was up before the call came in =97 he heard the boom from all the way across the Hoquiam River. So did Dean. =93It shook the station,=94 he said, and it immediately launched the firefighters to action. =93We knew something happened before we got the call.=94 Tom Bertelsen of Aberdeen, who works at nearby Olympic Eagle Distributing, said he ran outside to see what was going on when the explosion shook the building. =93It was loud,=94 Bertelsen said as he stood by his car in the Pettit Oil gas station across from the biodiesel plant. =93Real loud.=94 A steady stream of gawkers passed by the plant, some pulling into the gas station across the street to get a better look at the gathering of police, sheriff=92s deputies and firefighters. === http://www.ocregister.com/news/fire-222196-hazmat-drum.html December 03, 2009 8:02 AM Drum of chemicals blows 30 feet in air By DENISSE SALAZAR and ALEJANDRA MOLINA THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER ANAHEIM - A chemical explosion at a medical technology company prompted the response of firefighters and a Hazmat unit this morning, a fire official said. The explosion was reported at 6 a.m. at ConMed Linvatec, 2860 E. White Star Ave., after a 55-gallon drum of chemicals exploded, possibly after it became contaminated, said Anaheim Fire Department spokeswoman Maria Sabol. A 55-gallon drum is wrapped around a roof support beam after shooting 30 feet into the air when it's contents exploded early Thursday morning. Anaheim firefighters responded to the explosion at ConMed Linvatec, at 2860 East White Star Avenue, Anaheim. The fire department's hazardous materials team inspected the area before clearing workers to reenter the building. "It was a chemical reaction and caused the drum to blow about 30 feet in the air," Sabol said. "It hit so hard that it went straight up and it's on the ceiling." The fluid in the 55-gallon drum was described as cutting oil used to lubricate the blades on the machines used to manufacture surgical equipment, Sabol said. Twenty-five employees were inside the 14,000-square-foot building when the explosion occurred. They were evacuated and no injuries were reported, Sabol said. A Hazmat team isolated the area and checked the air, Sabol said. About 25 firefighters started to clear the scene shortly after 8 a.m., Sabol said. Anaheim police closed White Star Avenue between North Blue Gum Street and La Palma Avenue. A damage estimate was not immediately available. === http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4774045.Hundreds_of_people_evacuated_after_ Worthing_fire/ United Kingdom Hundreds of people evacuated after Worthing fire 7:44am Thursday 3rd December 2009 By Emily-Ann Elliott =BB Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes earlier today amid fears gas cylinders could explode in a fire. The area evacuated has now been reduced, and people are being allowed back into their homes - see the 1.30pm update below for more. Thousands of train commuters trying to get to work and school were left stranded as the South Coast rail line through Worthing was closed. Firefighters were called to a blaze off Canterbury Road, Worthing, at 1.45am at Shines car valeting workshop. Crews were forced to back off after discovering acetylene cylinders at the scene. Around 250 homes were evacuated, with many residents in their nightclothes going to stay with friends and relatives. Around 50 people went to an emergency reception centre at Worthing Leisure Centre in Shaftesbury Avenue.
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