Man is Killed by Furnace Explosion


Mechanical Engineering Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Pennsylvania and involves a man who was killed when working at a natural gas burning power plant. On this occasion, the man was undertaking a routine inspection of the fuel cell-powered furnace and firebox equipment in the plant, when the furnace suddenly exploded and killed the man. It is alleged that a foreign gas got in the system and caused the explosion, due to an imbalance in the normal fuel and air ratio under which the furnace was normally safe to operate.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have extensive experience with designing and manufacturing boilers?
  • 2. Are you familiar with the manufacturing company and their boilers?

Expert Witness Response

My firm has been providing engineering consulting services for boilers, pressure vessels, and pressure systems for decades. This includes active technical participation in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code where we received their highest technical award, The Pressure Vessel and Piping Award. Our 40+ years experience in boiler and pressure design, analysis, safety and failure causation evaluation includes expert testimony in state, federal, and international courts. We are strong contributors to the ASME boiler and pressure vessel code, and ASTM, API and other national consensus standards committees which specify safety. I have been the chairman of the ASME subgroup on fatigue strength for 40 years and authored Part 6 “Assessment of Pitting Corrosion,” including perforated plates in the fitness for service code API 579 / ASME FFS-1. Under normal operating conditions, the foreign gas should not have been present, and it’s likely that there was some error make in the design or construction of this particular unit.

Expert Witness Response E-013138

I have extensive boiler experience and I am familiar with this brand. I have maintained, repaired, and investigated countless boilers of all sizes, from 5000 lbs to several hundred thousand lbs in utility plants. I have built a number of boiler plants as well.

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