Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
Fatal explosion in St Louis, Missouri
Published:  10 April, 2017

The US CSB sends a three-person investigation team to the Loy-Lange Box Company to assess incident that killed three and injured four on 3 April.

The incident took place when a boiler exploded at the plant, where one worker was killed. The force of the explosion launched the boiler into the air where it flew approximately 150m before landing on a nearby laundry facility, killing two members of the public.

Since arriving on site the following activities and analysis have been conducted:

  • CSB investigators visited all three sites impacted by 3 April incident: 1) Faultless Linen; 2) Pioneer Industrial, and 3) Loy-Lange Box Company.
  • While early media reports were calling the equipment involved in the incident a ‘boiler’, the vessel that launched into the Faultless Linen building was a hot water storage tank also called a semi-closed receiver or SCR. This tank was part of a steam generator system that serves the same purpose as a boiler but is of a different design.
  • The SCR launched out of the Loy-Lange facility and into the Faultless Linen site, crashing into an office area. An initial examination found that the vessel appears to have landed top down into a room where three people were present.
  • The three people in the office room were fatally injured.

An initial assessment also found that an approximately 4m-long pipe, which had been attached to the SCR, crashed through the roof of the Pioneer facility. It stuck in the roof and punctured an office ceiling, where it remained until the company removed it to temporarily re-roof the hole to protect the building from water damage.

CSB investigators are likely to remain on site for a number of days; CSB Chairperson Vanessa Sutherland commented: ‘The CSB’s mission is to investigate and issue recommendations that promote safety at industrial facilities as well as for nearby communities.  As a result of Monday’s explosion, our team will be examining what if any safeguards were in place to protect the workers at the Loy-Lange Box Company, as well as for those in the adjoining building.’