WIT Press


FIRE INVESTIGATION IN AN ITALIAN WASTE TREATMENT PLANT: LESSONS LEARNED AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/SAFE190111

Volume

189

Pages

7

Page Range

113 - 119

Published

2019

Author(s)

GIOVANNI ROMANO, ALFREDO ROMANO

Abstract

In June 2017, in the north of Italy, a serious fire occurred in a waste treatment plant and involved the entire warehouse. Romano Safety Management (RSM) was charged with reconstructing the evolution of the fire, in order to establish whether the sequence of events leading up to the accident could be compatible with developing times of the accident. Documental evidence has collected in the accident place, as well as proofs of operators and rescuers who provided support on-site. The fire, the structure and materials composing the warehouse were rebuilt using “Fire Dynamic Simulator” (National Institute of Standard and Technology) and “PyroSim” (Thunderhead Engineering). RSM carried out a three-dimensional simulation of the fire, assuming that the origin of the fire was provoked by an accumulation of crushed waste of mattresses and considering interferences with the other parts of the warehouse, where different materials (wood, rubber, etc.) were stocked. According to the results, considering the ignition temperature of products and the presence of concrete separation walls, RSM concluded that the simulation of fire development was congruent and compatible with the development times of the fire. At the end, it was demonstrated that there were no active or passive fire-prevention protections inside the warehouse; these protections, jointly with a better operative management of the warehouse, could have avoided the fire development. In the last few years, many similar fires occurred in Italy and, for that reason, the Italian Ministry of Environment recently issued the first version of a “Guideline” according to risk management. These accidents and the results of the analyses will probably lead to a review of the fire-prevention design criteria of these plants.

Keywords

fire investigation, waste treatment plant, fire safety engineering, performance approach, fire risk analysis