Deputy head of the Fire-Fighting Service of Almaty Emergency Situations Department has evaluated the fire-fightering operation at the petrol tank truck explosion site in Almaty, Tengrinews.kz
“The fire-fighting services worked every bit effective when responding to the emergency. Quenching of such a huge fire in such a short time and under a threat of explosion threatening to cause more human victims was an outstanding operation. The personnel showed bravery and heroism. They rescued 6 people, including 2 children from the building on fire. The total of 40 people were evacuated from the apartment building. They prevented the overturned petrol truck from exploding and stopped the fire from spread to other areas,” Sharypov said.
Many witnesses of the accident said that the fire-fighters did a poor job quenching the fire, though. They say firefighters allegedly lacked sufficient amounts of foam to quench the fire and had to resort to water.
The official said that fire-fighting teams started arriving to the site 7 minutes after the accident and started quenching the fire using foam. At the same time the personnel of the Emergency Situations Department was flushing the burning truck with water. According to Sharypov, this was done to cool down the petrol tank and prevent it from deforming and cracking because of the high temperature. “If if had cracked the remaining fuel would have exploded. And the consequences would have been much graver,” the fire-fightering chief said.
What made the situation less complicated was that the burning petrol from the tank was flowing along roadside ditches and not the sidewalk or the road. The dire-fighters just had to pump the foam into the ditches. With petrol flowing down roads the consequences could have been more serious, he said.
The fire-fighting services of Almaty fully eliminated the fire in 1 hour 48 minutes. Two foam generators and two foam cannons were using in the operation that required 1,100 liters of foam generating agent. 8 water cannons and 2 carriage hoses were used to cool the petrol tank. 12 major, 4 specialized and 10 auxiliary vehicles, as well as 80 rescuers were involved in the operation. The fire received the highest complexity rating: Level 3.
The petrol tank lorry flared up near Rixos hotel in Almaty
at the crossing of Seifullin and Kabanbay Batyr streets after crashing into an offroader on June 27. The truck’s driver died at the accident site because his door got jammed and he could not get out of the truck before the petrol inflamed. The fire moved on to the RealSport sports shop, and #138 Kabanbay Batyr residential building. According to the rescuers, 40 people were evacuated from the building. No casualties were reported.
By Vladimir Prokopenko