Unyielding under fire

April 9, 2024
Williams Fire & Hazard Control and NIEDNER’s partnership stand up to multiple tests during Southeast Texas petrochemical plant fire

When it comes to industrial incidents, equipment quality is not just about efficiency and performance—it’s a matter of minimizing the devastating effects on the population, the environment, and all infrastructure. The Southeast Texas-based petrochemical plant fire in 2020 was a testament to the durability and reliability of NIEDNER hoses, which played a critical role in the emergency response executed partly by Williams Fire & Hazard Control.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control: An expert in emergency response

Since 1980, Williams Fire & Hazard Control has been a global leader in the emergency response sector. The company specializes in responding to land and marine-based flammable liquid fires with a record that speaks to the company’s expertise.

Daniel Clarke has been an integral part of Williams Fire & Hazard Control, serving as the Global Director for Emergency Response and Director of Sales for the Americas. With over three decades of service as a contractor and 11 as a direct employee, Daniel brings a wealth of seasoned experience to the team.

And it is thanks to his leadership, which was pivotal during the Southeast Texas petrochemical plant fire, where his strategic decision-making, his reliance on the expertise of his highly trained and motivated team and his crucial equipment selection led to a successful emergency response.

The South Texas 2020 petrochemical plant incident

The South Texas 2020 petrochemical plant incident

In 2020, an explosion occurred at a Texas-based petrochemical manufacturing company. Plant managers immediately contacted Williams Fire & Hazard Control to assist the in-house team in putting out multiple fires that had spread.

Handling the incident presented a challenge. Apart from managing several fires where extinguishing them outright was not an option due to the risk of chemical vapor release, the response required a nuanced approach, cooling and containing the fire without eliminating it immediately, necessitating the deployment of large-scale water curtains around the facility to contain the fire and protect the surrounding area.

Daniel’s team worked with another response team as the plan required a lot of equipment hoses. Together, they managed to deploy a water-shielding operation using NIEDNER’s manufactured 12-inch TAIGA 1200 hoses, capable of handling the low-pressure, high-volume pumps needed to flow 20-25,000 gallons of water per minute around the facility.

Niedner hoses: Put to the test…to the max

Williams Fire & Hazard Control’s response relied heavily on the NIEDNER hoses’ ability to handle extreme conditions. The hoses were crucial in setting up the water curtain, with their durability and performance ensuring that the operation could proceed uninterrupted. 

In two separate incidents, NIEDNER hoses demonstrated their superior durability. The first happened during a subsequent explosion that caused a massive 170-lb metal pole to fall on the hose, causing a jagged part to break off the pole and cutting a 2×2-inch hole into the hose.

“Water was shooting straight into the air, and because the whole town was evacuating, we had to wait before replacing the hose,” Daniel explains. “As we were waiting about 12-14 hours for everything to get in place, we were thinking that with such a massive hole in our hose, it’s just going to start tearing and tearing. But it never moved. As I kept checking every hour, it never tore any further, which was phenomenal. Even with the water shooting in the air, losing 250-300 gallons of water per minute, the water was still flowing through and getting where it had to be.”

No other hose on the market could have held this way. 

Daniel was equally astounded by the robustness of NIEDNER hoses in a second incident.

“At some point, we had a line running across the road. Big pumping diesel trucks were required because we had to fuel our pumps. One driver was trying to find a way around but was wearing breathing equipment and could not see very well. He backed up and hit the hose line, which was under full pressure,” Daniel recalls. “It was completely squished and scrapped under the carriage, and the full weight of the truck was completely on the line, grinding over it. The hose flattened like a pancake, and then boom, it popped right back up. Nothing happened.”  

“This was a stark contrast with what happened with another team on the other side of the facility, using another manufacturer’s product,” Daniel said. A truck driver also did not see the hose lying on the ground and bumped into it. “The hose was completely ripped apart.  That team was down for around four hours to replace the damaged hose. Water was everywhere,” he mentions.

“In the meantime, ours had been completely run over twice, but nothing happened; the water was still flowing just as it should. It was amazing; the hose was as sturdy as it could be.”

Performance thanks to a long-standing partnership

NIEDNER - Performance thanks to a long-standing partnership

Williams Fire & Hazard Control has a long-time partnership with Niedner, working together to ensure that hoses evolve with industry needs. 

Examples of this are the 7¼ DOUBLE 5 and 12-inch TAIGA 1200. Daniel mentions. “Things evolve in our field, with bigger tanks, more water, less hose lays. Niedner evolves with the industry. That is why we predominantly specify and use its hoses.” According to Daniel, Williams Fire & Hazard Control uses Niedner hoses for training as well as school and industrial weeks.

“You are not only getting fire hoses, but you’re also getting the whole team,” he adds. “We share our challenges with NIEDNER, and they work with us to develop a product that will meet the challenge. And they always stand up to the test of reliability, toughness, and ease of use.”

 The Southeast Texas petrochemical plant fire may have posed an exceptional challenge, but with Niedner hoses in their arsenal, Williams Fire & Hazard Control continues to prove that their response teams are prepared and equipped for anything.



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