On November 15, 1984, the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department responded to a rescue call at a small petroleum bulk plant. A worker, involved in a toluene tank cleaning operation, was overcome in the tank. During rescue operations, that utilized a gasoline engine driven power saw, an explosion occurred resulting in the death of one fire fighter and injury to 16 other fire fighters. The worker died of asphyxiation and inhalation of toluene vapors.
This incident emphasizes the need for recognition of both the flammability and toxic properties of hazardous materials at fire and rescue scenes and the application of appropriate procedures.
For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report To learn about NFPA's statistical data on Fires Starting with Flammable Gas or Flammable or Combustible Liquid