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John McKee

Silver Trail Explosion, Fire Marshall Incident Report

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Good morning,

The Silver Trail Explosion Fire Marshall's report is available online at https://www.scribd.com/doc/272493968/Silver-Trail-Distillery-Accident-Investigation-Response-Report#fullscreen

Please take time to read it today and think about safety in your facility.

This report is not the final definitive answer, the engineering report from the insurance company will be the final answer of what went wrong. Try to leave the armchair engineering out of the discussion and just read the report...think about safety in your distillery in all aspects, not just your still.

Go look at photos of the facility online, think about your facility. What can you change today to make it more safe? Operational change, extra fire extinguisher, anything. Think about yourself, your people and their families.

Be safe,

McKee

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Thanks John!

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There certainly seem to be some lessons learned.

Our code enforcement guy told us straight away that he was fine with direct firing, but that we would need an automatic suppression hood. It seemed like a fair request. A cinder block knee wall around the pot area, as has been discussed and illustrated in other threads, is also a great idea.

From my perspective, the general idea is to 1) protect as much as possible against incendiary events and 2) design the production area such that personnel are shielded in the event of such an occurrence.

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This document as linked is excruciatingly difficult to read. The print/text is just clear enough to be legible and just fuzzy enough to guarantee headaches! Perhaps because of this I am not sure I was able to get a full grasp of the report.

If I read it correctly...

The Fire Marshall did not make a definitive call on the cause of the explosion?

Seems like it was potentially caused by a blockage in the packed column that caused a pressure build up?

The injuries/burns sustained by the two distillers where the result of boiling mash and not fire?

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My read of it would score you correct on all counts, although it also seems as if the deceased was more seriously burned because he was hit with an exploding bottle. Apparently the initial explosion was near enough to a number of cases of stock so as to light off a bunch of secondaries.

So another lesson learned, there - if at all possible, segregate your flammable stock from any incendiary source.

I do have one question that keeps nagging at me, though...

What's the zoning on this facility? Per the narrative, the distillery was operating in a pole barn that was built on a residential property. On its face, that would be a no-no. I suppose the property could be zoned Agricultural, as the map view suggests a farm.

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What's the zoning on this facility? Per the narrative, the distillery was operating in a pole barn that was built on a residential property. On its face, that would be a no-no. I suppose the property could be zoned Agricultural, as the map view suggests a farm.

My reading was that according to the TTB, the use of an outbuilding on a residential property was okay as long as there was no physical connection. Is it that almost everywhere has zoning restrictions?

Distilled spirits plants shall not be located in any dwelling house,

or in any shed, yard, or enclosure connected with any dwelling house, or

on board any vessel or boat, or on premises where beer or wine is

produced, or liquors of any description are retailed, or (except as

provided in Sec. 19.133) on premises where any other business is

conducted.

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Guest Conejo148

My operation is on my residential property. It's a case by case situation. In my situation, the building needed to be a minimum of 50ft from any residence (I'm over 100 ft,) the DSP area needed a distinguishing boundary (a fence,) and also be in a building that can be secured to protect the revenue. As I was told at the time, of the almost 1800 licensed distilleries, only a handful are on residential property because of legal/zoning hurdles.

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