Indiana Firefighters Learn How to Handle Ethanol Fires

Indiana firefighters learned firsthand how to battle an ethanol fire at one of Poets’ refineries in Alexandria. A fire training exercise yesterday led the firefighters to learn how to battle ethanol verses gasoline type fires.

According to The Herald Bulletin, Alexandria Fire Chief Bruce Waters invited Pendleton, Anderson, Richland Township and Pipe Creek Township fire departments to take part in the exercise along with the Madison County Hazmat team. The ethanol plant arranged four square steel walls on a gravel section of the plant property for the exercise. Firefighters poured ethanol into designated burn areas and then ignited the fuel. They were taught how to fight the blaze during a four hour training prior to the exercise.

Dave Hudak of Poet noted that the likelihood of a fire at the ethanol plant is low since ethanol fires are extremely rare and Poet officials take strict precautions to prevent accidents. Hudak said ethanol at the plant is contained to pipes and enclosed structures that are not exposed to heat or air, two of the components that fire needs. Fuel, in this case ethanol, is the third.