A team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) deployed to St. Louis, Mo., on April 6 to investigate an incident at the Loy-Lange Box Company that killed three people—one worker and two members of the public—and injured four others. The fatalities occurred when a vertical condensate storage tank, or semi-closed receiver (SCR), launched out of the Loy-Lange facility and into an office room of a nearby laundry facility. During the early days of the investigation, CSB investigators could not conduct a thorough inspection of the SCR because the structural integrity of both the Loy-Lange facility and the laundry facility was still being assessed. However, CSB’s initial visual examination suggests that the bottom pressure boundary of the SCR failed.
“When the vessel failed, the hot condensate jetted from the bottom, converting from hot water to steam,” CSB’s investigation update reads. “The power of the jet of water rapidly turning to steam broke the vessel loose from its piping attachments and fastenings, propelling it through the internal structure and roof of the building.”
The vessel, which weighs 3,000 pounds, was launched more than 400 feet into the air and 500 feet from its starting point, according to the agency. CSB will likely examine issues of vessel operation, preventive maintenance, and mechanical integrity. The agency plans to provide additional updates as its investigation continues.
For more information, check CSB’s news page.