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USAF Investigates Foam System Death

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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Three investigations are underway after a civilian defense contractor was killed and three others were injured in a foam fire suppression release at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Jonathan "J.D." Lord, 31, was killed and the others injured Jan. 8 when the fire suppression system in King Hangar released an unknown amount of foam.

All four work for Defense Support Services (DS2), a company that provides support services to Department of Defense equipment and facilities.

Eglin AFB foam system
U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Chris Jacobs

One civilian contractor was killed and three were injured when this foam fire suppression system went off at Eglin Air Force Base Jan. 8. Three agencies are now investigating.

Two Air Force panels and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating, WEAR ABC 3 reported Friday (Jan. 24).

2nd Release in 2 Years

Lord worked as a contractor at the Air Force base since 2006 and was a tools-and-parts attendant, according to Nwfdailynews.com. His cause of death has not been released.

The injured contractors were treated for inhalation problems.

Eglin spokesperson Lois Walsh said that the cause of the incident was under investigation and that more information would be provided when available.

DS2 did not immediately return a request for more information Monday (Jan. 27).

The fire suppression system in the 90,000-square-foot hangar has 24 foam generators suspended from the ceiling. Walsh described the foam as similar to soap or dish detergent.

There are 24 foam generators suspended from the ceiling of the hangar. This video from 2009 shows the system being tested.

The hangar, built in 1955, is considered a historical Korean War-era facility. There were five aircraft in the hangar at the time of the incident.

A similar incident happened in May 2012, Walsh said. No one was injured.

Were Warnings in Place?

"We will definitely be looking into what warnings were there, what type of notification they had, and what training they had at that site," OSHA spokesperson Jeff Romeo told Nwfdailynews.com.

Warning signs about the foam are supposed to be placed throughout the hangar.

"We may have to go to the manufacturer to find out how the system works," Romeo said, adding that his OSHA office has not before handled a fatality investigation similar to this one.

OSHA has six months to complete fatality investigations.

DS2 supports the DOD at over 100 locations, working on aircraft, ships and vehicles, according to the company's website.

DS2 was cited for 13 serious and four other-than-serious citations in 2008 at the Simmons Army Airfield. Those citations were later changed to three serious and four other-than-serious citations with $7,650 in penalties.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Contractors; Department of Defense (DOD); Fatalities; Fire; Government contracts; OSHA; U.S. Air Force

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