Overheated material that ignited when exposed to air is being blamed for a June 2019 fire at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant that injured four people.
A report presented at a public information meeting earlier this month also reviewed new safety procedures installed since the fire.
“The cause of the fire at Radford Army Ammunition Plant on June 6, 2019, was determined to be overheated material that spontaneously ignited when it was exposed to air when the operator was pulling it out of the mixer,” Plant Commander Lt. Col. Anthony Kazor said.
The operator suffered minor burns, and three firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. All of them were released from the hospital the same day.
RAAP has implemented operational and procedural changes to best prevent this from happening again and further reduce risk to employees, Kazor said.
“Employee training has been tailored to recognize the specific risk variables that contributed to the incident,” he said. “If these conditions reoccur, all operations are stopped, employees removed, and a response team is deployed.”
Maintenance procedures were also modified to reduce risk of propellant heating and additional safety zones were implemented to increase employee protection.
Producing propellant is an inherently dangerous profession, and the health and safety of our workers is our top priority, Kazor said. No fires have occurred in this production area since these changes were implemented.