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What Made the Spark? The Search Begins.

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, August 25, 2011

Investigators say they know a worker was trying to uncap a valve on the Tanker on Tuesday when the propane ignited.  Dave Whitt is the Lincoln Fire Chief.  He says lightning, smoking and cell phones can be eliminated as causes, but static electricity remains a possibility.

 WHITT: "When you skooch your feet across the carpet and you touch somebody and there's that static electricity discharge?  Just that in and of itself  in the right environment with the right fuel mixtures is enough to create a spark to create a flame that you need to create an incident like we had.  It doesn't take much.  A lot of static electricity discharges that happen, you neither see nor feel."

The department is treating the fire as an accident. The Federal Railroad Administration should be on scene within a day or two to assist with the investigation. The FRA may take over as the lead investigative agency.

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