Fire Investigation in Italian Waste Treatment Plant: Lessons Learned and Future Development

Alfredo Romano – TRR S.R.L.

Abstract

In 2017 a serious fire occurred in a waste treatment plant and involved the entire warehouse. TRR was charged to reconstruct the evolution of the fire, in order to establish whether the sequence of events leading up to the accident could be compatible with developing times of the accident. Documental evidences have collected in the accident place, as well as proofs of operators and rescuers who provided support on-site.

The fire, the structure and materials composing the warehouse were rebuilt using “Fire Dynamic Simulator” (National Institute of Standard and Technology) and “PyroSim” (Thunderhead Engineering). TRR carried out a three-dimensional simulation of the fire, assuming that the origin of the fire was provoked by an accumulation of crushed waste of mattresses and considering interferences with the other parts of the warehouse, where different materials (wood, rubber,…) were stocked. According to results, considering the ignition temperature of products and the presence of concrete separation walls, TRR concluded that the simulation of fire development was congruent and compatible with the development times of fire occurred.

At the end, TRR demonstrated that there were not active and passive fire-prevention protections inside the warehouse; these protections, jointly with a better operative management of the warehouse, could have been avoid the fire development.

In the last few years, many similar fires occurred in Italy and, for that reason the Italian Ministry of Environment has recently issued a first version of a “Guideline” according to risk management. These accidents and the results of the analyses will probably lead to a review of fire-prevention design criteria of these plants.

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