Industrial Plant Fire/Explosion


PRONET CONDUCTS STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY ASSESSMENT AND ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING INVESTIGATION FOR SUBROGATION

Areas of expertise include structural engineering, electrical engineering, forensics, and subrogation

Scenario
A fire/explosion occurred at an industrial manufacturing plant with enclosed elevator tower.

Structural Engineering - ProNet Group was retained to inspect the building's structural framing and components, and advise on any areas that should be repaired or replaced, with a specification on scope for repairs.

Electrical Engineering - ProNet Group was retained by subrogation counsel to inspect if subrogation potential existed.

Additional Information
Structural - Prepared a scope of work for the rest of the building (external wall panels, roof cladding, extent of insulation replacement), including the applicable specifications and drawings, for contractors to prepare bids against for the reconstruction of the property.

Electrical – multiple joint inspections were required and requested by various interested parties to identify the cause of loss. Initially, a fire origin & cause expert along with ProNet's electrical engineer determined that a motor and pump were identified as competent energy sources in the area of origin. The equipment was taken into evidence. The initial evidence examination led to a determination that the motor was not the cause. However, further examination indicated that the outer ball bearings on the pump failed and subrogation was pursued.

Outcome
Structural - ProNet's team was able to determine extent of damages, determine repair vs replace, and created a scope of repair. Included in the conclusion was that the fire event did not compromise and/or mitigate the total and/or partial structural stability/integrity of the primary structural steel framing system/components or connections of the various buildings.

Additional findings revealed the fire event caused some damages to the architectural building components in addition to some secondary steel girts/purlins of the same various buildings, including some smoke/soot damage.

Electrical - Additional evidence examinations involved disassembling a pump and a metallurgist was brought in to expand the investigation. After evidence examinations that required additional parties to be put on notice, the bearing was disassembled and cut into pieces. Inner race and outer race were examined and a hardness test revealed that the inner race was softer than outer race, but it was determined that this was not the cause of the fire. Ultimately, a lack of proper lubrication was determined to have caused the bearing to overheat, and thus was the cause of the fire.