Update on Crane Collapse Incident at Falmouth Docks

Update from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service

Photo: Falmouth Police

Incident at Falmouth Docks – Wednesday 10 May 2017

At 0844 on 10 May the Service received the first of a number of calls to a reported Crane collapse at Falmouth Docks that had subsequently resulted in damage to acetylene cylinders causing a leak.

Crews were dispatched from Falmouth and Truro Community Fire Stations in line with the pre-planned attendance for this type of incident.

The explosive nature of Acetylene gas necessitates an exclusion area as a precaution and for this reason an orderly evacuation of the docks was carried out and the Police initiated a cordon.

Fortunately there were no injuries to any dock workers or the crane operator as a result of the collapsed crane and the Fire and Rescue Service attendance is for the purpose of dealing with what the Service determines as a minor hazardous material incident.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus carried out a survey of the affected cylinders using thermal imaging cameras to assess whether there was any internal heating. In addition water spray from firefighting jets was used to disperse the acetylene gas that had leaked whilst Firefighters isolated each of the cylinders. Specialist advice was received from the company who supply the cylinders.

The Services Emergency Management team liaised with personnel on scene and with other authorities to ensure the needs of persons evacuated were being considered.

During the assessment of the cylinders a Firefighter suffered minor injuries and was taken to the local minor injuries unit for a precautionary check.

Following a thorough assessment the scene cordon has now been reduced to the immediate area around the crane and the ongoing incident investigation has been formally handed over to the docks management team.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Phil Martin said “Incidents involving acetylene cylinders require a well-managed response and the cordon is put in place to ensure the safety of members of the public. I am pleased to report that the Firefighter who was injured suffered only minor injuries and was taken to hospital as a precaution, we do of course wish him a speedy recovery. I would like to thank the management and staff at the docks, the Police and members of the public for the swift evacuation and adherence to the cordon. Whilst we recognise that it causes disruption the safety of the public is always paramount in our decision making.”

Fire and Rescue crews were expected to leave the site by 1300 hours.