SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 26 July 2016

Investigation of a Fire in a Liquid Oxygen Bulk Delivery Tank


This paper presents a case study of the forensic analysis of a fire that originated in the annulus space between the inner and outer shells of a liquid oxygen bulk delivery tank that was permanently mounted inside a home health-care delivery van. The fire occurred while a dispensing facility employee was preparing to fill the tank with liquid oxygen. The fire energetically erupted from the annulus space, burning the individual and damaging the tank and van. During the fire, the inner vessel collapsed and the aluminum superinsulation between the inner and outer vessels was consumed. This paper discusses the layout of the liquid oxygen dispensing facility and bulk delivery tank, and it describes the fire's propagation and the causation theory that was developed during the investigation. Also discussed are the properties of liquid oxygen crucial to the fire's development, the typical procedure followed to fill the liquid oxygen tank, the timeline of events leading up to the fire, and the ultimate conclusions reached by these authors.

Author Information

Newton, Barry, E.
WHA International Inc., Las Cruces, NM, US
Schumacher, John
AEI Corporation, Littleton, CO, US
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 246–264
DOI: 10.1520/STP159620150067
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7638-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7637-9