Refinery Venting - LA Power Outage
Originally uploaded by Life on the Edge.
On Monday, September 12, 2005, at approximately 12:25 p.m. PDT, many areas in the City of Los Angles experienced a major power outage or limited power interruption.
The Los Angles Fire Department went into an operational mode that would facilitate the Department’s responses to such a wide scale emergency. Fire companies stage in a safe area outside the fire stations on radio watch for quick responses. Fire resources then patrolled their first-in districts for emergencies that would require immediate mitigation.
Also, LAFD helicopters were launched for aerial reconnaissance and additional dispatchers were deployed to the 9-1-1 back-up site to insure uninterrupted 9-1-1 call reception. As a result of the power outage, the Los Angeles Fire Department experienced a sharp increase in the number of 9-1-1 calls received by the Operations Control Dispatch Section.
Most of the calls were from citizens reporting that they were trapped in elevators.
The only significant incident was a Hazardous Materials Incident at the “ConocoPhillips Refinery”, in the Wilmington area. As a result the power outage, petroleum products that were being transported to a storage area under pressure shut down causing a pressure build up in the transportation lines. To relieve the pressure, the products were redirected to a flare stack and ignited thus relieving the pressure in the effected pipes.
Some of the hydrocarbons mixed with a catalyst (heavier than air) escaped under pressure thru the wrong stack into the atmosphere causing three workers to suffer mild respiratory discomfort.
One of the workers was treated and released at the scene and the other two were treated and transported to a local hospital in good condition.
Patrolling down wind from the incident and checking air quality, three hundred students at Harbor College were evacuated/sheltered in place as safety precaution. No other injuries were reported. Electrical power was restored in the effected areas of Los Angeles City in approximately two and one-half hours.
Submitted by Jim Wells, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department