Into a Burning Building

Workers sent into burning building

There was a serious Lithium-ion battery fire in a Sandia building. Apparently the building was evacuated, since such a fire, by itself, can produce toxic fumes and it’s likely that other items in the building could also create toxic “combustion products.”

When a similar fire occurred at NASA’s JPL in 2010, the fire was put out by specially-trained fire fighters and the building evacuated for several days until air samples showed the building was safe and hazardous materials could be properly disposed of. Burning lithium is dangerous stuff. (

So what does Sandia do? Its managers sent employees back into the smoke-filled building with no protection, exposing them to dangerous fumes and materials. Apparently, the building is much more important that then people who work there.

The tip of the iceberg?

In investigating this and another “incident”, DOE noted “several similarities to previous incidents” and concluded that Sandia’s previous corrective actions were not effective. Really?

Details, in DOE-speak, at

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