Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd

Plant protection

- Hytrans pumps were the heroes of Buncefield

Published:  01 April, 2006

During the UK’s largest ever industrial fire at Buncefield, 14 high volume pumping gave an essential water supply and provided enough water to fill 90 Olympic sized swimming pools (30m lites).

Each set consisted of one HydroSub 150 unit pump, three hose boxes with in total 3,000m of 6” hose and several adaptors, Y-pieces and gate valves to complete a water transport system.
“We were told after the incident by ODPM staff which were on the scene that the onsite fixed water main had been severely damaged and was rendered useless for firefighting,” comments Richard Verhoef:
“Other water sources couldn’t be used or couldn’t hold enough water to guarantee a water supply for long periods. A nearby lake off the M1 did prove a good location to take the water from but this was situated some 1.5 miles from the location.”
He explains: “Fortunately, the fire services had HydroSub 150 units to pump 25,000 lpm of water. The pumps could not be placed closer to the water than 50 meters, so it took the full length of the hydraulic hose to reach the water. This location could never have been used with standard suction pump equipped vehicles.”
Providing essential water
Each of the six pumps at the water was pumping almost 4,200lpm through a twin 6” hoseline; in total 12 lines of 6” hose were deployed between the lake and the incident location. The total length of hose used was an impressive 30 kilometres. Onsite, three HydroSub 150 were used as booster pumps to increase the pressure again to feed the Williams monitor and tankers. Four HydroSubs were also specifically deployed to pump the enormous amounts of waste water,” explains Richard.
“ODPM staff did calculate later that the supply system as set up would have taken over 180 standard firefighting appliances with at least double the personnel. Instead, only nine HydroSubs were required.”
Richard reports: “Any incident like Buncefield is regrettable and even though it has created publicity for Hytrans, we would rather see this type of disaster prevented. It is good to know, however, that when an incident occurs our system can provide a valuable asset to the firefighters, a system they can rely on to pump much-needed water for days at the time.
“Hytrans has demonstrated that its system can get to the water, be it 60 metres away horizontally or 60 metres straight down. Our HydroSubs will always get the water to where it is most needed.”

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