Dean VanNest SCBA Rupture

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Dean VanNest SCBA Rupture

On Sunday May 2, 1999, Firefighter Dean VanNest at Summerfield Fire Department (Summerfield, NC) experienced something that few firefighters will ever experience. While performing his normal duties he was recharging a 2216 SCBA bottle. As the bottle reached the 1000 to 1500 psi range, Dean heard a noise similar to a bleed valve leaking. As he reached for the fill knob, to stop the filling procedure and attend to the apparent problem, the SCBA bottle ruptured.

The bottle ruptured and broke into three distinct sections.

  • The bottle was a 1977 Aluminum SCBA Model# DOTE6498-2216
  • The Current Hydro Test Date: 10/98

Dean’s immediate reaction was to move away from the fill enclosure as the air and noise would warrant. Dean then cut off all SCBA fill  valves and began inspecting himself and his equipment. He suffered no personal injury from this incident, but the fill enclosure was severely damaged. Note: Two pieces of decorative metal were expelled from the unit striking Dean.

A question remains…What if this had been a 45 cubic foot bottle@4500 PSI?

It is the recommendation of Safe Air Systems, Inc. that all SCBA Cylinders used in fire fighting should always be refilled in a full containment style fill station, that has been independently tested by a private agency.