The scene at Clifton Pier on the night of the fire. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
INVESTIGATORS found that operator error caused a fire at Bahamas Power & Light’s Clifton Pier Power Station last year.
The fire caused damage to BPL engines that would require $33m to repair.
The report by Rimkus Consulting Group was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday.
“No physical evidence was observed that would consider this to be gross negligence,” the report said.
As a result of the fire, the fuel injection, exhaust, cam shaft, turbochargers and electrical/control components of the DA 11 engine –– one of two MAN 10k80 diesel alternators at Clifton Pier with a 31.5MW capacity –– were completely destroyed.
The report said: “The DA 12 ancillary equipment and engine proper appeared to have minimal damage from the fire event. Instrumentation, electrical and plastic components were damaged consistent with the fire event.”
Investigators said: “Fuel pressure at the reportedly failed puncture valve plug would have been dependent on fuel pump pressure, if the fuel injection was firing, and if the puncture valve was seated, leaking or completely open. Therefore, the fuel pressure is indeterminate at the plug at the time of the incident. However, fuel pressure would have been a minimum of 7 to 8 bar (102 to 116 psi) and could have been in excess of 350 to 390 bar.”
“The damage observed to the building roof components, the engine components above and in the vicinity of the cylinder #3 fuel pump is consistent with an HFO fire event. The fire event is consistent with high pressure HFO flowing from the 3/8-inch opening on the puncture valve onto the ceiling and engine components and igniting on a hot surface, such as the exhaust manifold components.”
“The following incident scenarios were evaluated: Plug was removed by plant personnel prior to actuation of the puncture valve. This case is not probably since they and reportedly completed this asme procedure on three previous cylinders with no problems. The plug was not installed prior to the actuation but was not noticed by plant personnel. It is possible that the plug had been removed prior to the engine starting after the turbocharger work. However, there would be no need for maintenance personnel to work on this head (and remove the plug) at the same time as the turbochargers. Also, at the time of engine start HFO would have been observed flowing from the #3 fuel pump.”