Severity
Incident
Leak
Yes
Ignition
Yes

Incident Synopsis
While a hot air dryer was being used to free a coupling in a hydrogen cryostat (an apparatus used to maintain constant low temperatures), a flash fire occurred. The H2 cryostat was being dismantled.

Causes
The temperature at the center of the cryostat was sufficiently low to liquefy air. The prescribed requirements for purging and bringing the cryostat to room temperature were circumvented. The H2 - air mixture was formed and ignition was assumed to be a spark from an open filament of the dryer.

Incident Date
Dec 31, 1969
Setting
Equipment
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Cooling Equipment
  • Hydrogen Cryostat
Damage and Injuries
Characteristics
When Incident Discovered
Lessons Learned

Standard procedures must be followed at all times. The importance of doing so should be frequently reinforced through safety communications to all staff.