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Sodium hydride caught fire whilst being charged

Incident

The charge envisaged was two bags of sodium hydride containing 5 kg each.  The bags were split open in turn and the material charged to empty, nitrogen inerted vessel using earth stainless steel scoop.  The charging of the first bag was OK.  The charging of the second resulted in a fire.  A powder extinguisher was used which initially put the fire out, but secondary fires started due to the force of the fire extinguisher.  Dry sand was successfully used on these secondary fires.  The sodium hydride contamination was extensive.  Residues from the fire were destroyed by the fire team on waste ground.  The plant area was decontaiminated with steam hoses.

The Cause

Spontaneously Flammable solid; multiple packs, charging procedure

Follow Up

Dry sand available for charging operations, changes made to pack sizes, reactions carried out with solvent soluble bags if possible or alternative charging technique evaluated.

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