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Thomas Rodante

published on

April 2004

In October 1988, one of the world’s largest combined loss storage tank fires occurred at a refinery located on the island of Pulau Merlimau, Singapore. At the height of the incident, the blaze involved three floating roof naphtha storage tanks, each approximately 134 feet in diameter and containing a total of 294,500 barrels of product. The resultant property loss was estimated at over U.S.$6.6 million in 1988 dollars.

At several stages, the fire threatened to involve tankage in adjacent dikes containing kerosene, reformate, motor gasoline, and diesel product. Since the refinery was located on an island, equipment and manpower were ferried to the site. Despite the size of the fire and adverse logistics, firefighting efforts were successful in containing the incident to the primary dike tankage.

This paper investigates the incidents leading up to the fire, operational and design engineering considerations, and analyzes the basic fire fighting strategy, pre-fire and emergency response plans, fire water management, and fixed / semi-fixed foam systems.

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