Today in fire history: a fire occurred at a flammable liquid tank farm supporting Denver's Stapleton International Airport

Blog Post created by paulalevesque Employee on Nov 25, 2014

On Sunday, November 25, 1990, a fire occurred at a flammable liquid tank farm supporting Denver’s Stapleton International Airport.  Eight of the farm's twelve storage tanks contained jet fuel A totaling almost 4.2 million gallons.  The fire was considered as accidental in nature, and it burned for approximately 55 hours.  Seven tanks were destroyed or damaged, and over 1.6 million gallons of jet fuel was consumed.  There were no reported fire fighter or civilian injuries as a result of this incident.

At approximately 9:22 a.m., the Stapleton control tower saw smoke in the area of the tank farm and called the airport fire department.  Both airport and structural fire suppression crews responded to the reported location.  Upon their arrival, airport fire fighters found a large pool fire in a pit containing piping and valves.  In addition, there was flaming fuel which was apparently under pressure spewing high into the air.  They were able to knock down the pool fire using Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) but were unable to extinguish the fire involving the spewing fuel.  Each time the airport fire fighters stopped agent application for replenishment of water or agent, the fire would burn back and increase in intensity.  When the structural fire fighters arrived, they discharged water through master streams and ladder pipes to protect exposures. In addition, the structural fire fighters also laid hose lines to the aircraft fire fighting vehicles to maintain uninterrupted water supplies to these vehicles.

For the full NFPA Fire Investigation report.  Download NFPA's statistical reports Fires at Outside Storage Tanks and LP-Gas Bulk Storage