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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Mumbai Kasturba Hospital gas leak: Water sprinklers above LPG tank did not function due to defective valve

LPG storage tanks are often provided with water sprays to protect them in the event of a fire. Water has a cooling effect on the vessel's shell, lowering the risk of a possible explosion.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
Updated: August 8, 2021 8:14:13 am
Kasturba hospital after the LPG leak on Saturday. (Express Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

The water sprinklers located above the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank that leaked in Kasturba hospital did not function on Saturday, as a valve that controls water supply and pressure of the sprinklers was found to be defective.

LPG storage tanks are often provided with water sprays to protect them in the event of a fire. Water has a cooling effect on the vessel’s shell, lowering the risk of a possible explosion.

The LPG leakage from the tank was recorded at 11.34 am and the Mumbai Fire Brigade arrived at the hospital around 12 pm. “There are sprinklers installed and connected to the water pipeline. However, the valve was faulty and thus the sprinklers remained defunct when the leakage took place,” said a fire brigade officer.

Water sprinklers are used to keep the ground around the LPG tank cool, as the gas is highly inflammable. Throughout the day, the fire brigade team was continuously spraying water in areas around the tank to keep the ground cool and control the intensity of the toxic smell from spreading. Four water hose lines were used for the purpose.

LPG vapours can run for long distances along the ground and collect in drains or basements. When the gas meets a source of ignition, it can burn or explode. It can also cause cold burns to the skin and act as an asphyxiant at high concentrations.

Around 5 pm, workers were seen repairing the valve in the hospital premises. “In addition to sealing the leakage from the tank, we also have to manage the temperature around the tanker,” said an officer from Worli fire station.

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