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Thread: Firefighter and Man Killed, Seven Other Bravest Injured in Iowa Tank Blast

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Firefighter and Man Killed, Seven Other Bravest Injured in Iowa Tank Blast

    Firefighter and Man Killed, Seven Other Bravest Injured in Iowa Tank Blast

    WINTERSET, Iowa -- A rusty fuel tank being cut apart caught fire before exploding and shooting debris at least 100 feet away. Two people were killed in the blast and nine others were injured.

    "It's an awful loss,'' said Jerry Lee Schwertfeger, mayor of the town of 4,200 people. "This doesn't happen to a small community very often.''

    A man was cutting apart one of two fuel tanks in a lot behind an automobile body repair shop Friday when the tank caught fire. After firefighters arrived around 11:15 a.m., the tank exploded.

    A firefighter, identified as 25-year-old volunteer Jim Griffith, and one of the men cutting the tank were killed. Seven other firefighters were treated and released, Police Chief Clyde Klave said.

    The tanks are about the size of a full-size van and supported on platforms about 10 feet off the ground. One tank was still standing Friday afternoon, the other had crumpled to the ground.

    "It just shook the entire house and the entire area,'' said Shelli Manning, who lives about three blocks away.

    Winterset is 25 miles southwest of Des Moines.

    Funeral/Memorial Information

    Memorial services for Firefighter Griffith will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11 at the Winterset Senior High School, 624 West Husky Drive in Winterset.

    Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 12 at 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, 405 Prairie Street in Guthrie Center, Iowa.

    A memorial fund has been established in the name of Jim Griffith:

    Winterset Firefighter's Association
    P.O. Box 144
    Winterset, Iowa 50273


    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2000/ia_apr7.html

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Griffith, James Ted

    Age: 25
    Rank: Firefighter/Training Officer
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 04/07/2000
    Incident Time: 11:12
    Death Date: 04/07/2000

    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Winterset Volunteer Fire Department
    101 East Jefferson
    Winterset, Iowa 50273
    Chief: Robert Hendricks

    Final Summary:
    Firefighter/Training Officer Griffith and members of his department were called to the scene of a grass fire. The fire started when salvage workers ignited grass and nearby wood as they worked to dismantle two old, rusting 12,000-gallon elevated fuel storage tanks. The grass fire was extinguished, and the salvage workers decided to use a blowtorch to cut a small hole near the drain of the tank that had already been pulled to the ground. The hole was intended to allow the attachment of a tow chain, which would be used to pull the tank to a salvage yard. As the hole was being made with a blowtorch, the tank emitted a hissing sound and suddenly exploded. Firefighter/Training Officer Griffith was killed instantly when he was struck by flying debris. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt trauma. The top of the tank, which was torn away in the explosion and weighed over 900 pounds, flew over 114 feet before coming to rest. A salvage worker was also killed, eight firefighters and a civilian received injuries. Analysis of the tank contents revealed that the tank contained residual gasoline and other petroleum products.



    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...l.cfm?p_id=598

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