Thanks to a grant from the Department of Ecology, firefighters in South King County now have a new tool to help them combat alcohol and petroleum-based fires.
The $100,000 grant was a collaborative effort between the Renton RFA and the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, fire department officials said in a media release.
According to Puget Sound Fire, the new tool comes in the form of two trailers that each carry 660 gallons of a foam concentrate that, when injected into a fire hose, can coat the surface of flammable liquids and extinguish them if they are already burning, or create an airtight barrier to prevent them from catching fire.
Regionally, petroleum fuel, in the form of unleaded gasoline or diesel, is shipped by rail, on roads, and through a pipeline. In addition, large amounts of ethanol (alcohol) as an additive in gasoline to reduce carbon monoxide, is carried by tank truck throughout South King County.
At the scene of a petroleum or ethanol spill or fire, a fire engine would attach a large diameter hose to the trailer to supply it with water. Firefighter would then use the fire hoses that are already mounted on the trailer.
According to Puget Sound Fire, what makes these trailers very important to the public’s safety is that they will be carrying large amounts of what is known as alcohol resistant (AR) foam. This AR foam works equally well on alcohol and petroleum products. The foam carried on fire engines is typically designed to primarily combat petroleum fuel.
The trailers will be towed by fire department vehicles and can be used region wide. Both trailers are being housed at the Renton Regional Fire Authority’s Fire Station 14. This station is near the Phillips 66 property on Lind Avenue where the ethanol is added to the unleaded fuels before being transported to retail gas stations. Eventually, one of the trailers will be moved to a Puget Sound RFA fire station near Interstate 5, Puget Sound Fire said.
The Renton and Puget Sound RFAs would like to recognize and thank the members of the United Association Local 32 for donating their time and effort to make the trailers complete. Local 32 installed the piping necessary to carry the water and foam through the trailer system.