WA firefighters pump jet fuel on fire instead of water

Credit: KING

A serious mishap occurred Oct. 25th at the Washington State Patrol fire training academy in North Bend. During a training exercise, firefighters mistakenly pumped jet fuel instead of water onto a flaming mock-up of an airplane crash.

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on December 14, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Updated Sunday, Dec 15 at 11:30 AM

NORTH BEND, Wash. -- The Washington State Patrol is investigating a serious mishap that occurred Oct. 25th at its fire training academy in North Bend.

During a training exercise, firefighters mistakenly pumped jet fuel instead of water onto a flaming mock-up of an airplane crash.

KING 5 obtained video that shows an enormous fireball erupted when the fuel hit the flames at the training site.

“When the firefighters put water on a fire that had been deliberately developed for training the fire got bigger instead of smaller,” said Bob Calkins of the State Patrol, which is investigating the incident.

Calkins said investigators believe that the academy’s oil/water separator – which recycles the water used for fire training exercises – did not correctly filter the jet fuel used for the exercise from the reclaimed water. 

So crews filled their tanks with water tainted with jet fuel -– a combustible combination.

Calkins said an expert hired by WSP is investigating whether the 1990’s oil/water separator malfunctioned or whether academy employees did not operate it correctly.

Two firefighters suffered minor burns.

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