Cosmetic fire damaged Monolithic Dome

A Monolithic Dome protected 10,000 tons of urea at this Cargill storage in Channelview, Texas. The fire burned for over an hour — fueled by 300 gallons of transformer oil and three wood structures. The dome suffered only cosmetic damage.

Fire safety comes standard, no sprinklers required

In late September, a fire burned down a fertilizer blend plant in Winnsboro, Texas. Only the concrete bin walls survived. The emergency hazmat team decided the best action was to let the fire burn itself out. The city evacuated everyone within a half-mile of the facility and let it blaze — with chemical-laden smoke rising into the sky.

It was their best option. Trying to put out the fire risked an explosion similar to the one in West, Texas in 2013. Since the West explosion, new wood fertilizer storages must be treated with fire retardants. Often new facilities must install expensive deluge sprinkler systems which usually include a water tower and a large catch basin.

There is a better way.

Years ago, a late night fire started next to a 10,000-ton urea storage in Channelview, Texas. It consumed three wood structures built against the Monolithic Dome. Over 300 gallons of transformer oil fueled the blaze. For an hour, strong winds blew the inferno directly over the dome.

The fire destroyed about a third of the roofing membrane. The intense heat ablated the polyurethane foam which reflected the heat so well that only a small, 12-foot square area of concrete was exposed. The high-density concrete suffered no damage. Inside the Monolithic Dome, the concrete wall wasn‘t even warm. The product was protected and safe.

Although blackened by fire, the damage was only cosmetic. The facility continued operations during repairs. Workers cut away the burnt membrane, scraped down the damaged foam, applied new foam over the damaged area, and clad the entire exterior with metal.

This is a typical Monolithic Dome. They are naturally fire resistant — inside and out. No water towers, no catch basins, and no deluge fire sprinklers required.

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