The largest fire seen in the Humberside area for many years was controlled and extinguished with FREEGEN SF-LV, a fluorine-free, solvent-free and low-viscosity firefighting foam concentrate. The Thompson Plastic factory fire in the Bridgewood area of Hessle, Hull involved more than 300 tonnes of plastic and was declared a serious incident. This fire was attended and supported by as many as 100 firefighters and support staff from the region. The response was led by Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) with additional support by firefighter colleagues from other regional Fire and Rescue Services.
The plastic factory has been in existence since 2003 and borders the residential area of Bridgewood. When the fire took hold late afternoon on Wednesday, 24 November, residents in the area were evacuated due to the proximity of this large fire to homes and other businesses and fears of toxic gases being present in the smoke plume. Thankfully there were no serious injuries reported during the incident and all of the company’s 120 employees evacuated the 9,500m2 manufacturing facility safely.
During 2020 and 2021, HFRS were one of many FRS who have attended fire testing of FREEGEN SF-LV on five fuels at the 3FFF Limited test facility in Norfolk and then went on to undertake equipment testing at their own facilities. These fire tests have been organized by TERBERG DTS UK in conjunction with 3FFF Limited for the UK FRS to see FREEGEN SF-LV being put through its paces following test protocols described in EN1568, ICAO and LASTFIRE and included fuels such as Heptane, JET A1, Ethanol, Acetone and Isopropanol. These tests were organized to show that the highest levels of firefighting performance of a modern fluorine-free and solvent-free foam concentrate can work hand in hand with the highest levels of environmental protection without compromise to either requirements.
In reference to the plastics fire in Hessle, Steve Hellewell, BSc. Station Manager, Emergency Preparedness, Humberside FRS commented: ‘The incident was declared a major incident with a multi-agency approach to public safety…. Our bulk foam stocks were requested which consist of a newly acquired Fluorine Free Foam which is also Solvent Free…. The speed of extinguishment using a modern high-performance Fluorine Free Foam was impressive and enabled us to very quickly stop the air pollution from the smoke plume.’
It is interesting to note that HFRS was one of the few FRS in the UK that had already transitioned to a fluorine-free foam more than a decade ago. During a recent review, this FRS chose to move to the most modern F3 available in the market today, a product that offers the highest firefighting performance, that is also solvent free (SF) with low viscosity (LV). FREEGEN SF-LV has proven to be the reliable and versatile 3×3 firefighting foam concentrate required by our Fire and Rescue Services in the decades ahead. Working alongside our partners such as TERBERG DTS UK to support the demands of a modern county, airport or industrial Fire and Rescue Service, they can have confidence as they make a transition over the next few years to fluorine-free foam that there are viable and sustainable options available within our FREEGEN range of foams concentrates.
TERBERG DTS UK are partnering with a UK manufacturer of foam concentrate to ensure firefighting foam concentrate stock resilience for the UK FRSs and end users alike. The first year of operating under newly introduced Brexit rules have highlighted areas of concern regarding the speed of importation of synthetic fluorine-free foam concentrates from the EU, which could otherwise result in a case of ‘F3’ foam concentrate shortfalls during a large major incident. We hold emergency foam stocks across the UK, which could have been called upon for this major incident had it been required. We also have stocks at our manufacturing facility in Corby, Northants and we are jointly exploring contingencies for emergency bulk stocks on a regional basis.
The FREEGEN range of foams including FREEGEN, FREEGEN SF-LV and FREEGEN ULTRA have been developed over the past three years to address the ever-increasing demand for high-performance FFF-AR foam concentrates that meet international standards. If your organization is now considering the transition from foam concentrates containing PFAS materials to the most modern foam concentrates on the market today, then the FREEGEN range of foams from 3F offer a product to satisfy your application requirements.
If you are looking for a foam that is fluorine free, solvent free, low viscosity, with the longest burn-back resistance of any FFF-AR and with the lowest environmental impact, manufactured in the UK and available across the country, then the FREEGEN range of foam concentrates offers the most obvious options for the FRS and industry, where performance and the protection of our environment are seen as one.
For more information, go to www.3fff.co.uk