Fatal Gas Explosion of a Residential Building: Three Levels of Lessons Learned; Strategic Insights: v.7, issue 1 (February 2008)
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The hazardous potential of natural gas concerns production as well as transport and the environment of end users. The following presentation is the report of a case study of a very severe gas-explosion in the enduser's environment and deals with an explosion in a brick-stone residential building in Wilhelmsburg, a community in Lower Austria, on December 2, 1999, which resulted in total collapse of the building. The incident caused ten fatalities (nine within the building, one passing by). Only one inhabitant, a 17-year old girl, survived in a small hollow sphere of the rubble of ruins. The investigation was carried out by a team of experts with expertise in explosion effects, ballistics, metallurgy, polymer chemistry, building engineering, ground mechanics and fluid dynamics, forensic pathology, gas-analysis, and management of gas-supply infrastructure. The investigation included also 1:1-scale trials of gas-explosions within structures as a tool for interpretation and verification of the evidences of the explosion. The very comprehensive investigation and analysis was the key to successful understanding of what had happened and to draw conclusions for management of emergency situations concerning accidental releases of natural gas in the end user's environment.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (February 2008), v.7 no.1
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