Height of pile causing tyre smoldering

| 24/09/2018 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Fire Service applies water to the smoldering piles

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Fire Service chief, David Hails, has blamed the height of the shredded tyre stack in South Sound for the ongoing combustion of the pile, which his crews are still working on to cool. Despite several announcements from the home affairs ministry since Friday that the smoldering mound, intended to be used as fill, was no longer burning, Hails confirmed that another four hot spots were discovered Monday and firefighters are still working on the pile of rubber. The chief fire officer said his crews have been at the site since Wednesday working to prevent a full blown fire after the decomposing material began spontaneously combusting. 

In a short statement to the press on Monday afternoon he explained that during checks by his crews this morning at the South Sound site, fire officers noted four more hot spots.

“These were marked and are currently being dug out and cooled,” he said this afternoon. “The smoldering areas are not progressing into fully developed fires; there is no naked flame and very little smoke issuing from the area. As such, the situation poses no risk to members of the public or surrounding properties.”

The fire service will continue to monitor the situation and is liaising with the site owners, he said. A fire safety inspector has visited the site and carried out inspections and a report will be presented to the site owners in due course.

Hails explained that the height of the mound being stored at the site belonging to Davenport Development, behind Velo Condos, and the compression that caused was the main problem, though some other factors were at play. He said the mound exceeded the regulatory height maximum for this type of storage of 10 feet. As the mound got higher and further compressed, the combustion began in the older decomposing material, the chief said.

The fire service was first notified on Wednesday of last week after someone detected the smoke, and crews attended the scene. They began digging down to find the hot spots and prevent the smoldering decomposing rubber from fully igniting.

If the pile actually catches fire with a visible flame, the mound could burn for extremely long periods, Hails warned, and so dousing the hot spots has remained a priority. He said that in addition to digging out the large lumps of melted rubber inside the mound, which are the root of the smoldering, the developers have been instructed to spread the shredded tyre mound over a much wider area to reduce the pressure and the risk for more burning and possibly a full blown fire.

However, as the hot spots are exposed to oxygen they are more vulnerable to catching fire. Therefore, fire crews have been standing by and constantly cooling the exposed areas to prevent that from happening.

The CFO reassured the public that there was no cause for concern from the limited amount of smoke. He said that despite the reoccurring discovery of further hot spots, the fire service would continue to keep the pile cool, and with the reduction in height, it would be easier to contain.

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Comments (37)

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  1. B says:

    Not too hard to see that that their best is not even close to being good enough. Constant failure is just an indication of a culture that will not survive itself.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What I find curious is the contrast between the half-baked way the use of shredded tyres has been approached and the almost hysterical fire safety issues that were raised when the issue of importing electric cars was debated. Things like this no longer concern me because I’ve got so used to it but in reality it stinks of corruption at third-world levels doesn’t it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    As predicted some years ago by a retiring civil servant – “this country will be run by morons”. We’re there now!!

    • Condos hot in south sound says:

      Paying all that money for a condo in South Sound at that location to only have your condo sink or catch on fire . Wonder who the developers are?

      • Anonymous says:

        XXXXXX Yes they thought used tires should be used as fill. I would not be able to sleep at night. The condos there start at nearly $500000. Overpriced properties averaging 1200 square feet but the landfill is made of tires. You cannot make this stuff up.

  4. Elvis says:

    Can’t someone somewhere have some kind of plan in place for hazardous materials BEFORE we get to this stage? Reaction theatre
    Why can’t we be pro active for once and actually have plans in place?

    • Anonymous says:

      Do yup know where you are living? Do you understand the way different people understand and relate to time?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The whole story is hysterically funny.
    The deeply stupid country, where “misunderstandings of the meaning, intent and application of the law” is
    a NORM .
    Whatever they touch, turns into $hit.
    Name just ONE real accomplishment. I can’t recall any. It is either done backwards, or right hand doesn’t know what left is doing, no foresight, forecast, expertise, enforcement etc. etc
    God given natural jewel is overtaken by garbage, iguanas and concrete buildings. 10story high-rises are soon to come. I bet it will be built to withstand cat.5 and the fire department is fully trained to tackle 10th floor fires. The view of the Dump would be spectacular!

  6. Teacher says says:

    Basic rule of physics – PV/T is a constant. If the volume doesn’t change because it is already compressed as much as it can, increasing the pressure increases the temperature.
    Physics should be the third core subject along with english and maths. We apply it everyday when we lift, push, walk, drive, etc.

    • 2+2 = says:

      As well as it should be a third core, Science!

      Great points.

    • truth hurts says:

      well try but PV/T applies to gases not to solid materials like rubber and its a open system therefore even the air trapped underneath is at atmospheric pressure .. so this theory wont apply …

  7. Anonymous says:

    Unless air emissions from scrap tires combustion analyzed, no one can say they pose no public health risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:15 Does this help you? https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231014010073 And there’s a lot more on the internet.

    • Anonymous says:

      No air quality regs essentially means anyone can put toxins into the air, just recall all the Ivan debris piles burning with all that pressure treated lumber in them. We also don’t have any environmental laws, abiding by any adopted or best practices is seen as anti-development. Besides “that’s the way it’s always been done” is the usual ignorant rhetoric push back on any policy that protects the environment. No news here, just plant your heads firmly back in the sand.

  8. Anonymous says:

    As posted on a previous story –

    Check out – http://www.hse.gov.uk/rubber/spontaneous.htm – they seem like pretty clear guidelines to me.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is this being used as fill for the project???? If so, how safe will it be once buildings are on top of it?

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      Mr. Hails , blamed the height of the shredded tyres , I blame the government for shredding the tyres without a plan to make use of the mulch . The old tyres shredded makes good play ground mulch and can be used for filling in road construction . But they should’ve known that just shredding the tyres and piling it up would cause a fire . Now a large percentage of the mulch is damaged by the fire , and all the money wasted on shredding it . That’s your government hard at work wasting your Taxpayers money , and working without a plan .

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t stop the carnival.

    • Anonymous says:

      Safe since it will be mixed in with other inert material. (Think bits of rubber in marl.) (Safe is a relative term regarding chemicals possibly in/on tire bits. The problem with tires is there is no good way to dispose of them. Shredding to mix into fill, etc., is one of the best anyone’s come up with so far.)

  10. Anonymous says:

    No chance fining a large corporation. Got more chance of getting a straight answer from this pathetic government

  11. Anonymous says:

    Private sector incompetence for the civil service to fix. But what’s New.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hope that this developer is fined for the improper storage of this debris and made to cover all costs that we taxpayers have had to put into this.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why are the developers using this product?

  14. Anonymous says:

    if Alden and his cronies need something constructive to do then they should address the g dump situation. We do not need to have the George Town waterfront destroyed anymore than it already is.

  15. Caymanian says:

    Shredded tire should be banned from this island. Why have something here thats against the environment?

    Pure artificial junk!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please stop talking about dart like that. We need him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except its a lot more expensive to ship old tires off and pay someone else to put them in their landfill (or shred them and use them in their country). We can’t expect others to take our garbage. (For free.)

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ok, Fire Chief (is there a fire chief?) time to hand out a fine for stacking the pile too high in violation of the fire code. ….crickets….


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