SchoolHouse Plant Operation & Maintenance Resource Center

Boiler Explosions

School engineers must make DAILY inspections of pressure vessels to insure a safe condition. This page illustrates the dangers involved. The term "low pressure" has been equated with “no danger" by some who are unfamiliar with the laws of thermodynamics. When rating the total pressure of a boiler, the total pressurized area, measured in square inches, is multiplied by the operating pressure of the vessel. Even on smaller boilers or hot water heaters this total pressure can exceed several hundred thousand pounds. Boiler water approaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit at 10 pounds gauge pressure and is in itself extremely dangerous. As a matter of fact, the only fatality related to a steam system operation in the Chicago Public Schools was that of Hugh Manley, a school Engineer who lost his life while preventing a catastrophe in 1923. Manley High School was named in his honor by a grateful Chicago shortly thereafter. The most common cause of boiler explosions is OPERATOR ERROR! Don't let it happen to you!

Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Concerns Addressed - It's not just boilers we have to be worried about. Hot water heaters can cause tremendous damage.

Alert on Furnace Explosions

Boiler blasts all too common

The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors

Building explodes; 1 injured

Worker hurt in boiler explosion

Root Cause Analysis for the Independence Plant Explosion

KCPL estimates financial impact of plant explosion; plans for future

Investigation of the Ford River Rouge Plant Explosion

Scene of the blast

Steam Engine Explosion Rattled City

Workers warned company on safety before explosion killed three

Boiler explosion? The Dispatch, Emergency Film Group's popular newsletter aimed at Emergency Responders reports on the Malden Mills textile plant in Methuen, MA in December, 1995.

Monthly Boiler Mechanical Safety Checks


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