JHF Teams up to Help Fight Underground Fires

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John Henry Foster engineers team up with STLFD, Reinhardt Electric, and Ameren Missouri to fight underground fires in St. Louis.

The Challenge:

The St. Louis Fire Department was experiencing underground, concrete, electrical box fires and arch flashing- creating risk of personal injury when fighting these fires and catastrophic loss of wiring and service outages for Ameren customers. The STLFD came up with an idea to fight the fires with CO2, but the implementation would take nearly a year of design and planning. When faced with the challenge of safely and effectively delivering the CO2 to extinguish the fire, Ameren called on Reinhardt Electric for help.

The Solution:

For help with the plumbing and delivery nozzle design, Reinhardt approached John Henry Foster engineers. Together, Ameren, Reinhardt Electric, and John Henry Foster created a state-of-the-art liquid CO2 nozzle- designed to fit in the holes of any manhole cover, and capable of injecting 350 lbs of liquid CO2 into the underground electrical box in less than 30 seconds. The CO2 reduces the oxygen level below 7% and extinguishes arch flashes- allowing Ameren to turn off power to the specific box before all wiring is lost. Once the fire is out and the power is disconnected, firefighters simply use a fan to blow air into the hole and the injected CO2 that has formed into dry ice, evaporates.

The Result:

Ameren Missouri donated a state-of-the-art fire truck- complete with the specialty liquid CO2 nozzle- to the St. Louis Fire Department. The new system will aid the STLFD in fighting underground fires- saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in wiring and clean-up (per occurrence), decreasing hassle to Ameren customers, and eliminating potential safety hazards of underground/concrete electrical box fires. The result is a safe, efficient, innovative solution to a costly and dangerous issue.

Watch KMOV's coverage of the story, here: Unique Fire Truck Joins STLFD Fleet

JHF engineers solve even the most complex challenges. Any application, any industry, we can help. If you're curious how JHF, St. Louis can help you, give us a call! 1-800-444-0522

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