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The Mexico City Explosion of 1984

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Nick Chumo Addy Hellebusch Matt Kelley Chris Williams. The Mexico City Explosion of 1984. Introduction. November 19, 1984 San Juanico ; a suburb of Mexico City 20 km outside of Mexico City 40,000 residents Low income families Homes as close as 130m to plant. Plant and “Process”.

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nick chumo addy hellebusch matt kelley chris williams
Nick Chumo

AddyHellebusch

Matt Kelley

Chris Williams

The Mexico City Explosion of 1984

introduction
Introduction
  • November 19, 1984
  • San Juanico; a suburb of Mexico City
  • 20 km outside of Mexico City
  • 40,000 residents
  • Low income families
  • Homes as close as 130m to plant
plant and process
Plant and “Process”
  • Pemex State Oil Company
  • Storage & Distribution facility for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
    • LPG comes in from 3 different refineries
  • 54 LPG storage tanks- 16,000m3
    • Daily throughput- 5,000m3
    • 6 large spherical tanks
      • 2 largest holding 2400m3
    • 48 smaller tanks of various sizes
  • Built to API Standards
right before e xplosion
Right Before Explosion
  • Being filled from a refinery 400km away
  • 11,000m3 LPG on site
  • Fall in pressure
    • The cause of the pressure drop was unidentified
    • no one initiated emergency shutdown
what happened
What Happened
  • One of the deadliest industrial disasters in world history
  • The initial vapor cloud explosion was the start of a chain reaction of explosions
  • There were 19 explosions
    • 15 cylindrical tanks
    • The 4 smaller spheres
  • Many of the explosions were BLEVEs
    • The relative times can be told from seismic readings
what happened cont
What Happened cont.
  • Most of the damage to the city was from fires not the explosions
  • Fragments from the tanks reached over 1,200 m away
    • The fragments were hot enough to start fires
    • Pieces trailed raining LPG as they flew
  • A concentrated rescue effort was put into action with 3000 rescuers on site
  • 200 firefighters risked their lives
accident timeline
Accident Timeline
  • 5:30am Rupture of 8 in. pipe; Pressure drop in control room
  • 5:40am Ignition of gas cloud; Violent combustion and high flame
  • 5:45am First explosion on seismograph, a BLEVE; Fire department called
  • 5:46am Second BLEVE, one of the most violent
  • 6:00am Police alerted and civilian traffic stopped
  • 6:30am Traffic chaos
accident timeline cont
Accident Timeline cont.
  • 7:01am Last explosion on seismograph, a BLEVE
  • 7:30am Continuing tank explosions
  • 8-10:00am Rescue work at its height
  • 11:00am Last tank explosion
  • 12-6:00pm Rescue work continues
  • 11:00pm Flames extinguished on last large sphere
  • 10:00am Last fires put out (next day)
root causes
Root Causes
  • Official cause of rupture is unknown
  • One report cited
    • Overfilled tank caused the inlet line to rupture
    • Failure of relief valve
results
Results
  • 500-600 deaths; 300+ never identified
  • 5000-7000 severe injuries
  • 10,000-60,000 people made homeless
  • 31 million dollars of damages
  • Destruction of 1/3 of the LPG supply to Mexico City
future preventions
Future Preventions
  • Timely inspections
  • Maintain industrial standards
  • Better maintenance
  • Effective operator training
  • Housing appropriate distance away
future preventions cont
Future Preventions cont.
  • Proper layout of large LPG storages
  • Gas detection and emergency isolation
  • Water system failures
  • Extra water hydrants in the streets
  • Planned evacuation routes
s ummary
Summary
  • This deadly disaster struck the morning of November 19, 1984
  • Lasted from 5:30am till 10:00am the next day
  • Left hundreds dead and thousands injured and homeless
  • Many lessons can be learned from the tragedy
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