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Fire at McMurdo Station Antarctica

Early in the morning of December 2, 2010 fire broke out on a generator in the McMurdo Station powerhouse.   A turbocharger disintegrated sending shrapnel into the engine causing jet fuel to spray onto the exhaust manifold.  The fire was automatically extinguished in less than 30 seconds by a carbon dioxide fire extinguishing system using a 1400 lb. initial discharge followed by a 300 lb. extended discharge to permit the manifold to cool and prevent re-ignition.  For the environment of Antarctica and this particular hazard, the CO2 system seems to have been a good choice - certainly effective in this application.

 For other locations and hazard configurations, another type of system such as water mist or Victaulic Vortex might be a better choice. 

 A universal "best" solution for fire protection problems might be nice - but no universal "best" exists in the world of fire protection.  Engineers must weigh the pros and cons for each situation and make an engineering judgment. 

McMurdo Station Powerhouse  Red "cans" are local application carbon dioxide discharge nozzles.

Last revised 12/12/14

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