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The original item was published from 5/15/2020 2:44:19 PM to 6/16/2020 12:00:08 AM.

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Fire Department

Posted on: May 15, 2020

[ARCHIVED] WFR responds to Fire Alarm


Watertown Fire Rescue responded to a fire alarm at 201 20th Ave SE, Watertown. A passer by’er reported heavy smoke and flames issuing from the buildings roof or chimney as well as the businesses alarm company also notified 911 at 9:21 A.M. this morning. Units arrive on scene to find a fire had started in paint booth in or near the exhaust system from hot work done during a system upgrade. Damage is estimated to be between $30000 to $50000. Nobody was injured and the damage was confined to the exhaust system.

Here are some good general practices before preforming Hot work

Make sure you are following your hot work procedure. Also consider the following items:

  • Make sure that all equipment is in good operating order before work starts.
  • Make sure that all appropriate personal protective devices are available at the site and each worker has been trained on how to use, clean, and store them properly.
  • Inspect the work area thoroughly before starting. Look for combustible materials in structures (partitions, walls, ceilings).
  • Move all flammable and combustible materials away from the work area.
  • If combustibles cannot be moved, cover them with fire resistant blankets or shields. Protect gas lines and equipment from falling sparks, hot materials, and objects.
  • Sweep clean any combustible materials on floors around the work zone. Combustible floors must be kept wet with water or covered with fire resistant blankets or damp sand.
  • Use water ONLY if electrical circuits have been de-energized to prevent electrical shock.
  • Remove any spilled grease, oil, or other combustible liquid.
  • Vacuum away combustible debris from inside ventilation or other service duct openings to prevent ignition. Seal any cracks in ducts. Prevent sparks from entering into the duct work. Cover duct openings with a fire resistant barrier and inspect the ducts after work has concluded.
  • Make sure that appropriate fire extinguishers (e.g., ABC fire extinguishers) are available and easily accessible.
  • Make sure that the first-aid boxes are available and easily accessible.
  • Block off cracks between floorboards, along baseboards and walls, and under door openings, with a fire resistant material. Close doors and windows.
  • Cover wall or ceiling surfaces with a fire resistant and heat insulating material to prevent ignition and accumulation of heat.
  • Secure, isolate, and vent pressurized vessels, piping and equipment as needed before beginning hot work.
  • Inspect the area following work to ensure that wall surfaces, studs, wires or dirt have not heated up.
  • Post a trained fire watcher within the work area, including lower levels if sparks or slag may fall during welding, including during breaks, and for at least 60 minutes after work has stopped. Depending on the work done, the area may need to be monitored for longer (up to 3 or more hours) after the end of the hot work until fire hazards no longer exist.
  • Eliminate explosive atmospheres (e.g., vapors or combustible dust) or do not allow hot work. Shut down any process that produces combustible atmospheres, and continuously monitor the area for accumulation of combustible gases before, during, and after hot work.
  • If possible, schedule hot work during shutdown periods.
  • Comply with the required legislation and standards applicable to your workplace.


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