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Building Explosion and Collapse in Omaha, Nebraska

Building Explosion and Collapse in Omaha, Nebraska

RE: Building Explosion and Collapse in Omaha, Nebraska

Looking at the pictures it would appear that this was some sort of bulk-product loading/processing facility and since it was Nebraska and the word 'Nutrition' appears in the name of the company, that would suggest that whatever they were loading/processing was organic in nature, such as flour or starch. In that case, this could very well have been a dust explosion. I worked 14 years for a company that designed and manufactured commercial bakery equipment and while flour handling machinery was not a big part of our business it was something that we occasionally would bid on. Some of the old timers who worked on that sort of thing used to tell us younger engineers 'war stories' about someone blowing up a bakery by doing some work around the bottom of a flour storage silo or near one of the pneumatic pumps or diversion valves and causing a spark while there was flour dust in the air. In most really large bakeries, you moved flour from the storage silos to the mixers via a network of stainless steel pipes, as if it were a liquid, which in essence it was when you introduced in into a stream of fast moving air (you actually only 'pumped' the air, just that once it was moving you'd run it into what we called a feeder-valve at the bottom of a silo where the flour or starch would mix with the air and then be 'blown' through the pipes to where it was needed at the mixers).

Anyway, they had pictures of some of the places that had blown-up over the years and one of our engineers still had the scars on his face from when he was at a customer's site and was going into one of these rooms where the flour silos and valves where located right when it exploded and he was thrown back out through the door. He was lucky as all he got was some bad burns on his face and hands and a broken arm. The three other guys working in the room, one of whom was trying to weld something before they had cleaned the place up, were killed instantly.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Building Explosion and Collapse in Omaha, Nebraska

(OP)
In further reading - they still don't know if there was an explosion - or whether the fire that occurred was a result, rather than a cause of the collapse. There had been very high winds in Omaha over the last several days so I wonder if the framework over the roof was somehow weakened.

RE: Building Explosion and Collapse in Omaha, Nebraska

Wasn't there a small earthquake in the Omaha area recently too?

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Building Explosion and Collapse in Omaha, Nebraska

(OP)

Quote (msquared48)

Wasn't there a small earthquake in the Omaha area recently too?

Yes - the Nebraska basketball team won a game.

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