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RESPONSE SPOTLIGHT: Refinery Process Fire Response


On Friday September 4th, IES was alerted about a process fire in a SEMC[1] client refining site.

Upon arrival IES found four separate fires around a flange and instrumentation lines located in the process structure approximately 15 ft. above ground.

Consultation with process operators onsite informed IES Responders that the product involved was hydrogen, the source lines had been isolated and those line pressures were dropping. Fortunately, operators had immediately deployed fixed monitors located around the unit as trained by IES in a recent fire response class, while a neighboring facility attempted to provide support by directing some of their fire monitors at the affected unit from across the perimeter.

Assuming Operational Command of the incident, IES directed portable fire monitors at the point of the release to control the fire and to cool the surrounding structure until the unit depressurized and the fire was extinguished.

IES was released from scene approximately 6 hours after the initial notification.

Process Fire Response Standard Equipment

When called to support a process fire, Standard Operating Procedures for IES stipulate the minimum equipment package that will respond, including the following:

  1.  Quick Attack Trucks 1 & 2
  2.  Foam Tender
  3.  Communications package to allow IES to set up independent communications for command and operations
  4. Air monitoring equipment for site characterization


*Additional equipment must be approved by a Chief Officer once on scene and the situation is well defined

In September alone, IES responded to the following incidents:

  • Pipeline releases and fire standby
  • Ship fire with remote assessment and consultation
  • Fire Equipment Standby to support Texas Chemical Plant due to fire water system failure


Other IES operations resulted in the following responses:

  • Medical – 30 cases
  • Fire – 5 cases
  • Hazmat – 10 cases


[1] SEMC (Strategic Emergency Management Contract) relationships with IES establishes an “in region” response facility with IES personnel and equipment that are capable of targeted emergency response from close proximity – including rescue, medical and fire.



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