Today in fire history: firefighter dies in explosion at cold storage warehouse

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Sep 17, 2011

On September 17, 1984, an explosion occurred in a cold storage warehouse building in Shreveport, Louisiana.  The explosion occurred while two members of the Hazardous Material Unit were attempting to isolate an anhydrous ammonia leak in the building’s refrigeration system.  One firefighter died within 36 hours of the explosion and another was admitted to a hospital in critical condition.  Factors contributing to the loss of life included:

  • The ignition of a flammable mixture of gas during the emergency scene operation
  • The lack of proper precautions by workers to reduce the possibility of a hazardous accumulation of gas
  • The lack of awareness by firefighters that the conditions for a hazardous accumulation of flammable anhydrous ammonia gas were present

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free, and all site visitors can read NFPA’s report: Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2010.

-Ben Evarts