Defense

February 21, 2014

AFTC’s King Hangar investigation report released

Samuel King Jr.
Eglin AFB, Fla.

Results of an Air Force Test Center commander directed investigation report on the fire suppression system incident that occurred last month at King Hangar, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., were released Feb. 18.

The unintended activation of the fire suppression system at approximately noon Jan. 8 resulted in the death of a civilian contractor, while three other Eglin personnel were treated with inhalation injuries.

“This incident is very tragic as we lost a valuable member of our team, and it could have been prevented,” said Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the Air Force Test Center commander. “My reasons for implementing this investigation were to ensure a loss of life or injuries do not happen again. The investigation identifies a number of key areas for improved system performance and personnel training and awareness efforts.”

The primary cause of the inadvertent High Expansion Foam discharge was a valve failure due to freezing water inside the pipes during historically low temperatures between Jan. 6 and Jan. 8. The combination of extended freezing temperatures followed by a rapid thaw resulted in burst pipes and leaks.

A wet-pipe sprinkler system Inspector Test Station broke creating a three inch icicle and slow leak. The wet pipe sprinkler system flow meter initiated the HEF discharge resulting in 17 feet of foam inside King Hangar. Five aircraft assigned to the 53rd Wing and 96th Test Wing were in the hangar when the HEF discharged.

The main reason for the fatality and injuries suffered as a result of the mishap was the loss of situational awareness and decisions made by the contractors to use the building elevator from the third floor to the first floor while the incident was ongoing. The resulting fatality and injuries occurred from the HEF filling up an elevator the victims were in and they were unable to find a way out of the facility.

“While we continue to grieve losing one of our own in this incident, I am confident we have solid technical information to inform our employees how to safely work in environments with fire suppressant systems and respond to any crisis that could occur,” said Bunch.

The CDI made recommendations for implementation throughout AFTC to mitigate the risk of future incidents. Foremost among those the recommendations to minimize the possibility of inadvertent discharge were:

  • Review automatic activation based on wet-pipe flow
  • Improve understanding of the HEF sequence abort function to reduce the number of inadvertent HEF discharges
  • Improve wet-pipe sprinkler systems in HEF equipped hangars to decrease their failure rates
  • Tie HEF activation to wet-pipe flow plus an additional fire indicator such as a heat detection device is also a possibility to consider

The most important of all the recommendations is to improve training of all the fire suppression system operations, according to Bunch.

“What we learned from the CDI will pave the way forward for new safety and training standards across the Air Force Test Center enterprise in how we manage facilities with fire suppressant systems and how we prevent and respond to crisis incidents involving these systems,” said Bunch.

“We will share these findings with other AFMC (Air Force Materiel Command) and Air Force organizations so they can learn as well.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Air Force Safety Investigation Board are still investigating the incident.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 1, 2015

News: Marine F-35 jets deemed ready for combat – A small batch of the highly anticipated – and much criticized – F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets have been approved for combat by the U.S. Marine Corps.   News: Reports: China to sell J-10 fighter to Iran, Syria? – Iran is rumored external link to be buying 150...
 
 

News Briefs August 3, 2015

Russian military helicopter crashes during air show, one dead A Russian military helicopter crashed Aug. 2 during an aerobatic display, killing one of its crewmembers and injuring another, the Defense Ministry said. The Mi-28 helicopter gunship was part of a flight of helicopters performing aerobatics at the Dubrovichi firing range in Ryazan region, about 170...
 
 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Improved Multiple Launch Rocket System tested at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton A Multiple Launch Rocket System with an improved armored cab fires a training rocket during a test. The rockets were simple training rockets and not equipped with a warhead, but still gen...
 

 

Missile Defense Agency, Raytheon demonstrate SM-6’s new anti-ballistic missile defense capability

In a first-of-its-kind test, the U.S. Navy fired a Raytheon Standard Missile-6, intercepting and destroying a short-range ballistic missile target at sea. The successful U.S. Missile Defense Agency test proved a modified SM-6 can eliminate threat ballistic missiles in their final seconds of flight. “SM-6 is the only missile in the world that can do...
 
 

Northrop Grumman-developed stealthy data link validated as combat ready with U.S. Marine Corps

the U.S. Marine Corps achieving F-35B initial operating capability, the Multifunction Advanced Data Link waveform developed by Northrop Grumman has been proven a key combat-ready capability of the F-35 Lightning II program. MADL is a high-data-rate, directional communications link that allows fifth-generation aircraft to communicate and coordinate tactics covertly. During testing of the Lockhee...
 
 

Lockheed Martin technology helps pilots, UAS operators share data, stay safe

As Unmanned Aircraft Systems take to the skies, it is essential for safety that UAS operators and pilots are aware of each other. To help provide this shared situational awareness, Lockheed Martin has deployed the first components of a UAS traffic management system that is available to the UAS community now. Lockheed Martin’s online Flight...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>