It transpires that Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock fired “incendiary” bullets in an attempt to explode a tank of jet fuel in his attack on concertgoers at a country music festival. Paddock, 64, fired the special ammunition – meant to ignite upon contact – at a 43,000-barrel fuel tank at the McCarran International Airport near the festival.
The rounds were recovered in Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Airport officials confirmed that two rounds did hit a tank of jet fuel, with one actually penetrating the tank, but did not confirm that these were incendiary rounds.
Officials last week downplayed the possibility of any explosion triggered by gunfire, given designs meant to withstand brief exposure to flame.
Crime Scene Investigators also found “tracer” rounds in the hotel, which are used to illuminate the path of the bullet and improve accuracy in low visibility.
But the plot was doomed to failure from the start as Jet fuel is relatively hard to ignite burning at between 800 and 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Mike Boyd, an aviation analyst for Colorado-based Boyd Group International, said “I used to train hazardous-material instructors at airports, and one of the things we taught was that if you even if took a blowtorch to a bucket of standing jet fuel, it would take about 90 seconds for it to want to burn,” Boyd said.
In addition, jet fuel requires a massive ratio of fuel to air for even its flammable vapour to combust. To ignite 17 ounces of jet fuel, for example, it would have to be atomised, (mixed in) with 1,000 ounces of air.”
The new twist on the mass shooting may highlight some vulnerabilities of airport fuel tanks, which often stand out in the open with little or nothing to shield or conceal them, but it also reinforces why they’re aren’t necessarily a security priority, Boyd said.
“They just aren’t good targets for terrorism,” he said.
DP Tanks had the task of digging out a redundant petrol tank for West Surrey Golf Club in Godalming, which involved the removal of a 4,500 litre UST redundant petrol tank from the ground in preparation for future building work on the site where the petrol tank was located.
The DP Tanks team inerted the tank using nitrogen gas and gave it a comprehensive internal clean prior to excavation from the ground.
The excavation was checked for contaminants and backfilled using clean materials, and finally, the tank and associated pipework were removed and taken off-site for recycling.
Safely Removing Fuel Tanks
Removing a tank is not just a matter of undoing a few rusty bolts and lifting it onto the back of a lorry. It has then to be cleaned thoroughly first so that the tank can be transported safely and recycled.
The tanks have often been built in almost inaccessible basement rooms. Sometimes they are completely bricked up to provide a bund* in case of leaks, with just a small inspection hatch being left.
Bunding, also called a bund wall, is a constructed retaining wall around storage “where potentially polluting substances are handled, processed or stored, for the purposes of containing any unintended escape of material from that area until such time as remedial action can be taken. Bunding is a legal requirement in many countries particularly around tanks, storage vessels and other plant that contain liquids which may be dangerous or hazardous to the environment
Particular examples which receive specific attention in the UK, the rest of Europe and the USA are oil and fuel storage tanks and transformers at electricity sub-stations which are filled with oil for cooling and insulation purposes.It is reasonably easy to construct a “water-tight” bund around the base of a tank or vessel. A concrete base and a sealed wall of masonry, brickwork, concrete or even prefabricated steel provide the holding capacity.
In the UK commercial installations exceeding 200 litres and domestic installations exceeding 2500 litres require a bunded tank to comply with Environment Agency ‘control of pollution regulations’.
On occasions, during the tank removal process, we have to cut up the tanks on the spot and manhandle the pieces out through a maze of corridors, stairs and doors, without damaging anything on the way out.
DP Tanks have used this technique successfully in many high profile jobs, including Buckingham Palace and a number of prestigious London hotels.
DP Fuel Tank Services recently carried out cleaning and de-gassing of a disused fuel storage tank at Heathrow Airport.
The DP-FTS crew were required to pass multiple security checks and the proposed working methods scrutinised by Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL) to ensure full compliance and met the stringent guidelines to carry out work safely around multi-million pound airliners. Anyone who has operated airside at Heathrow will know the challenges of working there!
DP Fuel Tank Services Supervisor, Gary Reeve, commented “We enjoyed the challenge of meeting with the clients’ expectations, and adopted a working-together attitude with the Heathrow team, which meant that we were able to carry out the project without a hitch”.
The project entailed relocating a 40,000-litre cylindrical bunded fuel tank off-site, and prior to the relocation the DP-FTS crew had to carry out thorough internal cleaning followed by the issuance of Gas-test certification to enable the move .
Project Manager for Wayne Jeves of Hughes & Salvidge, said:-
I would like to convey our thanks for the recent works which were carried out by DP-FTS on our project at Heathrow Airport. The project management and the subsequent works were carried out to a high standard, prompting positive comments and feedback comments from both the HSL site team and the Principal Contractor, FAUK. Heathrow Airport (Airside) is, at times, a challenging live environment to carry out any form of works and with this in mind the team prepared and executed the works required on time and safely. As a major demolition company in the UK, currently working on various sensitive projects, Hughes and Salvidge would have no hesitation in using DP FTS in the near future
In the 50 years since DP Fuel Tank Services Ltd was founded, Health & Safety legislation has seen many changes and improvements.
David Plumb & Co was set up in 1966, at which time there were already a number of key H&S legislative acts in place and RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) was celebrating its 25th birthday
To highlight our dedication to safe working practices, DP FTS carried out some research and found some interesting facts on the history of health & Safety dating back to 1802. One of the best online historical sources we found was http://www.historyofosh.org.uk/timeline.html
Speaking of history, DP FTS still has its first ever First Aid box dating back to 1966, illustrating just how much emphasis we put on Health and Safety. (We have installed many new First Aid boxes since 1966, by the way!)
In addition to our commitment to attain the highest levels of Health & Safety, we continually up skill our entire team to the highest standards on every aspect of our work, in order to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.
We’ve also partnered with Complete Health & Safety Ltd, Health & Safety experts to ensure our continued diligence in the ever-changing world of Health & Safety.
Safety for members of the public, contractors and our own personnel is our top priority. On all our sites
Personal safety equipment is used at all times
All safety regulations are rigidly adhered to
Safety and toolbox talks are given at the start of each day and to every new person arriving on site
Two way radios are used to communicate between banksmen and machine operators
Only personnel trained in confined space working operate inside tanks
Personnel who enter tanks are attached to a harness and safety-line and wear breathing apparatus, a personal escape kit and safety clothing always
All our sites are properly secured to prevent public access
Staff welfare is looked after on each site, including the provision of toilet, washing and canteen facilities
All practical steps are taken to ensure the safety and security of our staff
Health & Safety is not just a phrase or a set of paperwork to us. From the staff at head office to every operative on site, it is part of our culture.
As well as ensuring their own safety, all our personnel are trained and encouraged to point out when others are putting themselves in danger, or endangering others.
Earlier this year we were asked by south London based WLFE Motor Company to assist with an underground fuel tank issue.
A long time ago (in a galaxy far far….) this site was in use as a petrol service station before new owners developed the site into a car sales showroom.
Our role was to carefully take up the block paving and excavate over the tanks to investigate the condition of the abandoned fuel tanks; as our client had been advised that back in the 1980s the tanks had possibly been solid-filled with concrete, but actual evidence couldn’t be located.
However, upon our investigation we found the tanks were actually water filled!
This then initiated a different plan of action to resolve the situation for our client.
Initially by pumping out over 74,000 litres of water, this was more than expected as the tanks turned out to be larger than first thought. We then excavated the site further; which meant carefully removing, cleaning and storing 1000 blocks of paving, so that we could foam fill the tanks.
Once the tanks had been made safe, we backfilled over the tanks and set about relaying the 1000 paving bricks to ensure the site was left good as new.
Oil tank removal is a complicated, expensive task, which can be messy and quite dangerous if not conducted correctly. Getting a buried tank out requires diggers, a winching system and even a crane occasionally. Some indoor tanks are actually built in. In some cases, alterations to the building after tank installation may make it almost impossible to get out. Cutting-up a metal tank with traces of oil in an enclosed space requires specialist help if to be done correctly. It could be that the only way to get it out is to physically make a window or doorway wider. No one looks forward to removing an oil tank!
Oil tanks usually come with a limited guarantee that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. As your tank starts to age, keep a close eye on yours once it goes out of warranty — whether it is underground, in a basement or out in the open. If you find remedial costs start to escalate, you may want to consider getting it replaced.
The age of a tank is usually stamped on the outside. This practice started in 1998, so if your oil tank has no date, it could be 17 years old or more. No two tank installations are the same, so there is no standard price for removal.
Finding and installing your oil tank by yourself could prove to be a costly mistake. A common error is to opt for a cheap price on a tank, but after time it may become clear that it was clearly not fit for purpose. Be very careful to check the manufacturer’s specifications of the oil tank before you buy it. We can help you with this and offer you a complete fuel tank replacement project.
Cutting out testing and maintenance checks is a false economy. If your oil tank is still within the warranty period, you are missing out on having faults rectified under warranty if you don’t regularly inspect your tank. If you have an old tank, failure to keep an eye on it could result in spillages leading to fire risk and environmental damage. Not only these potential risks, but also the bad publicity for your business that is attached with an oil spill.
The oil tank is a particularly critical element of your system and demands extra attention. A store of flammable liquid is a danger, and so the failure of your oil tank could be disastrous. Don’t risk the consequences of cutting corners on your oil tank maintenance.
Money spent on proper installation of your oil tank is not money wasted. Contact us to organise professional tank removal and installation and set up a maintenance contract with periodic inspections. Get your oil tank properly looked after and you can rest assured without the worry of what might go wrong. Once you place your trust in expert technicians, you remove a lot of responsibility from your own shoulders.