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King’s Cross Underground Fire 1987 ChBE 285 Chemical Engineering Safety Case Study [Group 3] Abby Asher Evan Davis Timmy Doonan Carlton Marshall.

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Presentation on theme: "King’s Cross Underground Fire 1987 ChBE 285 Chemical Engineering Safety Case Study [Group 3] Abby Asher Evan Davis Timmy Doonan Carlton Marshall."— Presentation transcript:

1 King’s Cross Underground Fire 1987 ChBE 285 Chemical Engineering Safety Case Study [Group 3] Abby Asher Evan Davis Timmy Doonan Carlton Marshall

2 Overview 0 November 18, Large flashover fire on an escalator 0 Killed 31 people 0 Injured more than sixty 0 Result of many safety hazards 0 Aftermath of fire included implementation of numerous safety regulations

3 Existing Hazards 0 Old wooden escalators 0 Dirty running track (grease, hair, paper, etc.) 0 Toxic paint 0 Smoking ban consistently ignored 0 46 similar small fires in about 30 years 0 32 result of careless smoking 0 No assigned safety personnel 0 No safety procedures

4 Timeline 0 7:25 p.m. Fire started 0 7:30 p.m. Fire reported 0 7:39 p.m. Police began evacuating passengers through escalators 0 7:40 p.m. Trains ordered not to stop at King’s Cross 0 7:43 p.m. Fire engines arrived on site 0 7:45 p.m. Large flashover occurred 0 7:46 p.m. Full evacuation from station ordered 0 1:46 a.m. Fire extinguished

5 Root Causes 0 Several combustion points found on escalators 0 All on right hand side 0 Several gaps in escalator treads found 0 Large build-up on track analyzed 0 Found to be easy to ignite 0 Fires extinguished themselves in 9 minutes 0 No evidence of flash fire

6 Root Causes 0 Debated continued over the cause of the flash fire 0 Ceiling paint? 0 Piston effect? 0 Neither explanation was very good

7 Root Causes 0 Computer modeling done by a research establishment (Harwell) 0 Simplifications made 0 Several configurations considered 0 Unexpected occurred: 0 Hot gas remained in the trench of the escalator 0 Flames burned parallel to 30º angle of the track 0 Thought to be impossible 0 Model was suspected to be faulty

8 Root Causes 0 Scale replica of the escalator was built and lit 0 Flames performed as in simulation 0 Situated themselves parallel to the escalator 0 Heated wooden treads to ºC 0 Led to treads flashing 0 New phenomena now known as the “trench effect”

9 Ultimate Results 0 Buildup of grease and hair allowed fire to ignite and spread 0 Containment of escalator guided flames like a trench, causing overheating and flashover 0 Smoke was clean until reaching toxic ceiling paint 0 Particular combination of circumstances led to the trench effect

10 Ultimate Results 0 Why was this the first time a small fire flashed over? 0 Complete lack of attempt to put out the fire 0 Exact position of fire across width of escalator 0 Found to be conducive to trench effect

11 Ultimate Results 0 Damage from fire fixed quickly 0 Ticket hall and platforms for most lines opened next day 0 Ticket halls for most affected lines opened in stages over next four weeks 0 Nobody was prosecuted for this disaster 0 No justification for charges

12 Lessons Learned 0 26 recommendations made by DoT’s investigator 0 Wooden escalators replaced with all-steel ones 0 Smoking banned again 0 Sale of smoking materials in station banned 0 Installation of sprinklers and heat detectors in escalators 0 Non-executive director of safety 0 Mandatory safety training for staff 0 Public telephones, radios, and televisions put in place 0 Paint restrictions

13 Lessons Learned 0 Only 8 out of 26 recommendations implemented four years later 0 Cigarette butts still found on floors ten years later

14 Lessons Learned 0 Most important lesson: 0 Fluid flow phenomenon – Trench effect 0 Restrictions on escalator material help avoid repeating set up for this phenomenon

15 References 0 [1] Fennel, Desmond. Investigation into the King’s Cross Underground Fire. The Department of Transport, November 1988, London. 0 [2] “Kings Cross Fire 1987 News Footage” 0 [3] “King’s Cross fire” 0 [4] “Kings Cross Fire – London 2007 from the London Fire Journal” 0 [5] “Safety fears linger, decade after Kings Cross fire” 0 [6] “BBC On This Day – 1987: King’s Cross station fire ‘kills 27’” 8/newsid_ / stm 8/newsid_ / stm

16 Questions?


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