February 25, 2022
An explosion in a natural gas portable boiler occurred at a snack foods manufacturing facility in Hermiston, OR around 12:50P on the 22nd of February 2022. The incident originated in the southern portion of this approximate 14.4-acre complex. The subsequent fire consumed about 80% of the estimated 200,000 sq. ft. structure.
The county fire district was notified by an employee 911 call. Seven people were transported to local hospitals for injuries and were treated and later released. Fire authorities reported only one fire hydrant being available. Mutual aid was provided by surrounding departments and water was trucked in. There were also reported problems with the on-site suction tank and fire pump supply. It is assumed that the explosion damaged sprinkler piping and impaired automatic fire protection. The loss is still under investigation.
Inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) of package – type boilers is critical. Although units are factory tested prior to shipment, retesting is needed upon initial installation and start-up. Proper natural gas piping design and location are needed. Annual ITM of boiler safety controls and devices should be performed by qualified personnel with any deficiencies rectified before the unit is returned to service.
Risk Logic partners with highly qualified Boiler and Machinery (B&M) engineering companies that specialize in jurisdictional inspections and B&M surveys. Risk Logic engineers can also perform focused loss control evaluations on critical equipment.