Posts Tagged ‘fire’

Franklin Barbecue Burns

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

We take you away from Hurricane Harvey footage to bring you important Austin food news: Franklin’s Barbecue has suffered a fire.

One of the state’s most popular barbecue joints suffered a massive fire early Saturday morning, according to reports.

Franklin Barbecue, located in downtown Austin, has been a barbecue staple in Texas for years now and the destination for smoked meat lovers across the country.

Austin fire officials tweeted just before 6 a.m. Saturday that they had officials on the scene fighting a blaze at the location in the 900 block of East 11th. Within half an hour they reported that the situation at the two-story building had been controlled.

Here’s footage of the fire and firetrucks arriving:

Franklin is currently closed:

No reopening date estimate yet…

The Piper Alpha Disaster

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Although I usually let Dwight cover the catastrophic failure front, my visit to the Norwegian Petroleum Museum made me want to discuss something that wasn’t covered there (only mentioned in passing): the Piper Alpha disaster. Piper Alpha was not only the worst disaster to occur in the North Sea oil fields, it’s the worst oil-related disaster ever, with 167 men killed, and is an important lesson in cascading failure.

Also, it blew up real good:

That’s what happens when you start pumping 15-30 tons of natural gas into an existing fire every second.

Because the rig was completely destroyed, and most of the personnel on it killed, exactly how the disaster actually unfolded is unknown, but the official report reconstructs events.

Piper Alpha was originally an offshore oil rig that was converted to natural gas production. On July 6, 1988, technicians took one of two gas condensate pumps offline for routine safety valve maintenance, but weren’t able to complete repairs before a shift change, and thus left a temporary plate in place. Though they had filed paperwork to this effect, the information was not communicated properly to the next shift, and when the other pump failed, the crew activated the pump being repaired. This resulted in a high pressure gas leak when the temporary plate failed, and shortly thereafter by an ignition and explosion.

Though the rig had firewalls, because it was a former oil rig they were designed to contain fire, not explosions. Fire and smoke blocked access from the rig accommodations area to the lifeboats. The switch for the automated firefighting system was below deck and not activated, and the two crewman sent off to activate it were never seen again. The fire got so bad the control room was abandoned and no evacuation announcement was made over the rig’s loudspeakers. The fire would have gone out after the rig’s emergency shutdown switch was activated, except for the fact that Piper Alpha was being fed oil from two other nearby rigs. Worse still, Piper Alpha was still being fed pressured natural gas from two 24 to 36 inch pipes, which melted and burst in the fire, resulting in the huge fireball in the video above. (The gas feeds from the connected rigs hadn’t been shut off, but even if they had been, the lines were so pressurized that it would have taken hours for them to bleed off.) The explosion was so powerful it killed five rescued rig workers and two crewmen on the rescue ship, and guaranteed the complete destruction of Piper Alpha.

Time between the pump being switched on and the giant fireball: 25 minutes.

Only 59 rig workers survived.

Lots of factors contributed to Piper Alpha’s demise: multiple elements of poor design, an inadequate retrofit, inadequate lockout/tagout procedures, and insufficient safety and emergency training procedures. Together they resulted in a devastating series of cascading failures, creating a disaster far more deadly than any single one of them could have produced.

Piper Alpha changed numerous design and safety practices in the oil industry, ensuring that the series of failures that destroyed Piper Alpha can’t reoccur. But offshore oil rigs still remain one of the most dangerous and demanding working environments in the industrial world.

William Shatner Would Like You To Avoid Setting Yourself on Fire

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

William Shatner gets some corporate money to tell yourself not to set yourself on fire while frying a turkey:

Warning: Just as the fryer is filled with too much oil, the video is filled with too much Shatner. Way, way, way too much.

For those with low Shatner thresholds, the advice is:

  • Don’t overfill the pot with oil.
  • Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.
  • Always fry your turkey away from your house.
  • Properly thaw the turkey before cooking.
  • Use a grease-approved fire extinguisher.
  • If you’re going to fry a turkey, this is pretty sound advice. And if you live in central Texas, you probably shouldn’t be frying a turkey at all this year with the drought restrictions.

    Fire. Fire! FIRE!

    Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

    How not to deep-fry a turkey. Not once, not twice, but eight different frying disasters. The first one is long and lame, but the rest have varying degrees of satisfying flamey goodness. (Or, more to the point, flamey badness.)

    Do not try this at home…unless I’m in your will.

    Hat tip to Instapundit.