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The Incident

A fire occurred whilst quenching residual lithium aluminium hydride in bags. The fire was minor and it was easily extinguished

The Investigation

It transpired that the method being used was to treat the empty bags with methanol. During the operation there was a fire

Conclusions

It is typical of this class of compounds that when they are quenched, hydrogen is released - this is very easy to ignite, with the result that the solvent being used for the quench subsequently ignites. Ethyl acetate in an inert solvent such as dichloromethane would have been a more preferable quench agent.

Lessons Learnt

Some retraining has been done to prevent a recurrence.

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