Live from Africa! First few days on scene in Cameroon - FIRE PI

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lornebrunner  -  Jul 17, 2019

Live from Africa! First few days on scene in Cameroon
Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Investigators: Lorne Brunner, Richard, and Paul

Today I tried the “porridge” for breakfast. Basically, this is a maze that is boiled and the starch that rises to the top is scooped off, lemon and sugar is added. It's kind of bland, but put some honey into it and were good.

At 0700 sharp we met our special forces (SFS)

team and piled into our unmarked vehicles. I have come to realize that the horns on the conveyances are like turn signals. The conveyances constantly beep and are literally inches from each other, moving at 50 km, especially in the roundabouts.

Passing our first check point, our caravan stopped – and thinking we were being pulled over - our SFS all bailed out of the conveyances, walking over to side of the road, flung it out and…..relieved themselves. Ahhhhh yes giving back to nature.

Getting back on the road, I noted that the conveyance order was changed up.

Onward on our journey we noted the local organic roadside vegetable shack. Apparently this is the season for pineapple that will just melt in your mouth. Note the root to the right – Cassava is like a squash like potato.

The team was greeted by security and the hand-off from SFS was completed. We had our photos taken and MAYBE we will get an actual pass from SONARA so we don’t have to have security with each of us to walk about.

There was the typical hurry up and wait day but by 10 am we were allowed to begin our investigation AND there were no photographic restrictions. The was a rumor running around that the army was about to descend and “interview” the local Insurance reps and my team wanted to be away from the administrative office as soon as possible.

As advertised the team was split into three. I took the tasks of “vector analysis” of all steel ladders. Richard took the tasks of “structural damage” to all of the concrete test houses. Paul continued to count pipes and where they intersected.

We have two problems to resolve and answer:

1 - Juvenile hydrocarbons

  • There is evidence of a Hi-Order, supersonic blast that was heard over 10 km away. Thus, thermodynamically one would require a copious, tremendously LARGE quantity of hydrocarbons; not LPD’s or HPDs but MPDs. Medium Petroleum Distillate (MPD) is 5-8 Carbons (aka Gasoline).  

2 - How did the hydrocarbons mix with ignition source?

Working hypothesis: Currently we have three working hypotheses.  

  • One, the valves in the concrete test houses were all turned on and left on, thus allowing hydrocarbons to escape (human Interaction – intentional).
  • Two, the motor that was installed on the day of the event is not IC rated.
  • Three, gross malfunction of piping under pressure.   

We have indications/evidence of each hypothesis.

This afternoon, utilizing more than 10 men from SONARA, we began to destructively remove debris. We removed the majority of “tin” from the two alley ways for petroleum unit distillate (PUD) 10/20/30/40.

Our focus is PUD 10/20/30/40.  (Generally, PUD30; the gasoline distillate.) We will continue to forensically eliminate and work into PUD30.

We have eliminated the burners, heaters and all associated equipment above 10 feet.

Tomorrow, we plan on continuing destructively removing debris around PUD30 and forensically “tent," identify, label and document all pillars, concrete stations and “pulled” ladders. If we have time we will clean the floor in PUD30 and examine the spalling.

I have tasked Richard to:

  • Calculate the combined gas law
  • McClary, Daryl C. McClary (June 11, 2003). "Olympic Pipe Line accident in Bellingham kills three youths on June 10, 1999." March 24, 2013.
  • 1979 Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act

On our way home we had an encounter. Approximately halfway to our hotel, an army sentry (carrying an AK47 with a banana magazine – 45 rounds-) decided to get attitude and stopped us. This created an issue.  Our SFS was PISSED and began yelling, the sentry – scared was yelling – this was not a good situation. We pulled over and the beefcake SFS with his Beretta exposed began walking toward the sentry. Yes, I ducked down expecting bullets to fly. After a few seconds our SFS dude got into the conveyance and we sped off.

Since yesterday, our SFS have been courteous and greeted us, but not fraternized as well as on the two-hour drive…silence. Today after the border incident they went on and on in French. I don’t speak French, but I know what the French word for "ambush" is. They said it three times.


Until tomorrow.


#Investigation #Africa
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