| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free Wastewater Treatment Coating Systems eResource Book

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

‘Whistle’ Saves Workers Before Tank Blast

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Comment | More

Authorities are investigating the explosion of  a tank during lining removal at the headquarters of  Duratech Systems LLC in the Detroit suburb of Redford, MI.

Two employees who were working on the tank at the time narrowly escaped injury when the tank made a “whistling” sound before the blast at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 11), causing them to flee, said Redford Township Fire Chief Jim Gomulka.

The blast rocked the foundation of another business several hundred yards away and knocked down ceiling tiles there, Gomulka said. Numerous area residents phoned the township to report the blast.

No Hazardous Emissions

Fire from the explosion died down within seconds, as firefighters arrived on the scene.

The workers, whose names were not released, did not require emergency transport but were seen at a local medical clinic as a precaution, authorities said. The state Department of Environmental Quality evaluated the scene and determined that no hazardous emissions had been released.

The company declined Wednesday (Jan. 12) to discuss the incident.

Lack of Ventilation Reported

The tank—described by a township official as a storage tank—was located in an outbuilding at the Duratech complex. Gomulka described the building as a tall steel shed.

“It was explained to me that this tank was cleaned a couple of months ago, and it sat for two months and the two workers were removing the tank lining,” the chief said.

 “It was explained to me that they didn’t ventilate the tank so as to preclude a fire from occurring,” he added.
While the employees were working, they heard the tank “start to whistle” and “left the area quickly, much to their good fortune,” Gomulka said.

The outbuilding was extensively damaged, but no significant damage was reported to the company’s main building about 100 feet away, Gomulka said.

According to its website, Duratech Systems “provides tank lining services to industries where corrosion and abrasion problems exist.” The company serves the chemical, power, steel and waste industries, among others.

Michigan’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration was at the scene Wednesday and is investigating the incident, a spokesman said.


Tagged categories: Explosions; Health and safety; OSHA; Tanks and vessels

Comment from Mike Gerber, (1/13/2011, 9:42 AM)

I hope there is a follow-up story when the cause is determined. Wonder if atmosphere was tested prior to (and during) entry?

Comment from Car F., (1/13/2011, 10:45 AM)

Very interesting. I wonder if some sort of gas or air-borne fine particles resulting from the actual removal of the lining played any part on the explosion. ... Please follow on this story.

Comment from Edgar Matamoros, (1/13/2011, 11:48 AM)

What an interesting case... I agree with the the previous comments... A followup would be even more interesting!

Comment from Steve Badenhop, (1/13/2011, 10:32 PM)

I especially enjoyed the comment about ventilation precluding such an event...complete fiction. Any time you're working on a tank's floor or columns, you assume there's fuel or gas build-up until you eliminate it. Until then, you stick to cold work only. My guess was that they encountered or caused a puncture in the floor or a column and the whistling they heard was the flame burning up to the hole before it got sucked in and ignited a pocket of fuel...then, boom.

Comment from Akin Ogunmade, (1/16/2011, 3:59 PM)

Good enough as it did not claim the lives of the workers. Let's know the cause so as to learn from it and take necessary precautions.

Comment from jerry baxter, (1/25/2011, 2:17 PM)

Never heard of an incident just like this one. Investigation certainly needed.(?) We in the industry need to know the cause and circumstances around this one. Thanks for letting us know.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Modern Safety Techniques
Modern Safety Techniques

With our unique LTCat, we can help to provide clean, safe breathing air to your workers. Take a look at our Breathing Air Systems, we supply at least twice as much charcoal as our competitors! Modern

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!

RPB Respiratory

Take advantage of RPB Safety’s coolest promotion yet! Throughout the entire month of May you will receive a free Cool Tube with every...

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC

A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

CS Unitec
Surface Prep & Material Removal

CS Unitec’s Floor Planers remove coatings & corrosion from concrete & metal surfaces. Produce keyed profiles for waterproofing applications.

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.

Novetas Solutions
Number 1 Crushed Glass Abrasive in America!

6 NEW plants coast to coast! Safe for environment, 100% recycled glass. White Metal Finish! No unsafe toxins like Beryllium & Arsenic!
Call 866-775-6226

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail