Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fighting Oil Field Fires with Artillery

I ran across an interesting piece of oil field history the other day. It was a first person account of fighting an oil tank fire in 1884. Lightening had struck an oil derrick and ignited a small storage tank. This tank leaked and the resulting pool fire spread to a battery of large storage tanks. The fire then became uncontrollable. The fire fighting method of the day for oil tank fires was to fire a cannon into the tank in order to punch holes and drain the tank before the fire caused the oil to boil over. Several of thee cannon can be found in various oil field museums.

The story was printed in MIT's newspaper, "The Tech". A link to it is here. Be sure to browse the paper for other news of MIT and advertising of the era.


Anonymous said...

That would be the best way to prevent a BLEVE, Boiling Liquid, Expanding Vapour Explosion. Red Adair made his fortune fighting oil rig fires with explosives by first removing any hot metal from the site and then using dynamite to create a shock wave to blow the flame out.


There's some neat videos on youtube if you search for BLEVE

Old NFO said...

Yep, a novel way, and it DID prevent BLEVEs...