On February 7, 2008, at about 7:15 p.m., a series of huge explosions and fires occurred at the Imperial Sugar refinery northwest of Savannah, Georgia, causing 14 deaths and injuring 38 others, 14 seriously. The facility, which converted raw cane sugar into granulated sugar, had a material-handling system that included the familiar railcar unloader, belt conveyors, bucket elevators, and silo storage. The explosions were fueled by massive accumulations of combustible sugar dust throughout the packaging building.
Editor's note: A trend to require more fire safety equipment in residences and nursing homes will reduce deaths and injuries, both among firefighters and the general public, says E. Metts Hardy, vice president/Fire Investigations for EFI Global (www.efiglobal.com), a Kingwood, Texas-based provider of engineering, fire investigation, environmental, accident reconstruction, and laboratory testing services.
Electrical appliances or wiring are often fire cause scapegoats, simply because they're there. It's unusual to find a burned structure without some electrical wire or device in or near the fire origin.
Every year there are thousands of home fires all across the nation due to faulty household electrical wiring. There are an annual average of 110 electrical fires a day as a result of frayed wires, loose electrical connections, broken extension cords, faulty switches and outlets and other common sources.