moonshine distillery explodes today

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moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Appalachia-Shiner » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:22 pm

Marshall county, Kentucky. Silver Trails distillery caught fire and reportedly exploded today. It was located in the Land Between the Lakes region, an o!d tradional moonshine producing area.
Two employees were flown out to Tenn. Med center with burns. They were producing moonshine for the George Jones label. No definite cause named yet.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby crazy » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:53 pm

So sad to hear.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:35 pm

Man, that place is flat-out LEVELED. Hell of an explosion. Head distiller and assistant with severe burns. Employee says the still "malfunctioned".
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Appalachia-Shiner » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:11 pm

A person who know the owner told me that they were indeed using Propane to heat the boiler. Not sure if that was the initial cause though.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Jimbo » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:13 pm

Damn shame, on many levels. Hope the guys are ok.

Doesnt help the cause. Licensed inspected legal 'stillery blows up? Breweries and wineries dont blow up.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby heartcut » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:32 pm

Grain silos, gas stations and spouses blow up in more spectacular ways.
Hope the guys are all right.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Jimbo » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:33 pm

Ha. True that heart cut.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby ranger_ric » Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:59 am

Truly an eye opener about the importance of safety. I pray those men and their families heal quickly and completely.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Appalachia-Shiner » Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:28 pm

Update today on the 2 workers.
both still in Critical Condition with burns 80-85% of their bodies.
Not sure if they are going to make it or not. I think they are in Vanderbilt University Burn Center.
I was planning on visiting the distillery this summer but.......
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Kegg_jam » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:44 pm

Damn, that sucks. Wonder what could have went so horribly wrong...
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby ranger_ric » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:14 pm

It is really a bummer about those two men. And I am serious about the safety we have to practice. Just today I found that it is the little things that we do everyday that we cant let slip by.
I flour paste for my lid seal on my little 5 gallon pot still. I always check to make sure flour pooches out when I clamp the lid down. ( I run on propane). Today is the FIRST time I notice about 1-1/2" where the flour didnt pooch out. I told myself "dont worry the seal is made to the inside and I probably just cant see it, but its ok. During the 45 minutes it takes my still to heat up I read this post and said "Screw It" I am turning off the heat and resealing the whole thing.. Just cant let it slide.
I dont know if it was sealed or not because as soon as I pull the lid the seal is gone anyway. Just a reminder.. Do it right and do it safe...EVERYTIME.
Godspeed and prayers to those workers and their families..
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Truckinbutch » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:20 pm

Kegg_jam wrote:Damn, that sucks. Wonder what could have went so horribly wrong...

I agree . There has to have been an egregous violation of basic safety principles to bring this about .
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Appalachia-Shiner » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:08 pm

Quick update on the two employees who were injured.
Both men remain in Critical condition in Vanderbilt University Burn Center.
Explosion was caused by: " Catastrophic Equipment Failure caused by Over pressurization of
the still." The still was blown out of the building into the gravel parking lot outside."

Some of you may understand this. Over pressurization? Does that sound like maybe someone forgot to open a valve or something?? Heating was done with Propane is what I was told.
I know there are a couple of members who live in the area. What did you hear?
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:51 pm

One rumor I heard was that the still had been left running unattended for the prior 5 hours.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby Bobdoe » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:22 pm

I saw the images on the news. The facility was leveled. Sad. Saying Prayers for the men and their families.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby WhiteDevil504 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:10 pm

3dog they said the same thing on WhiskyCast. Sounds like they returned and opened the distillery doors, when they did the explosion occurred. In the piece they mention that the two were thrown out the door, they said had the door been closed they likely would have been killed. Just an awful deal but it reiterates that no still (commercial or home) should be left unattended. Sounds like the building must have been charged with explosive vapor and perhaps either needed the extra oxygen introduced when the door opened, or was triggered by a light or other electronic kicked on by their arrival. Thoughts and prayers with them, their friends and their family.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby 3d0g » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:28 pm

I'm a couple episodes behind on WhiskyCast. That all makes sense though. Something happens to the coolant supply on the condenser and it's party time. Silver Trail got airtime on Moonshiners a while back so some here may have seen it. While I do hope the poor bastards recover, if this chain of events holds true, it pisses the hell out of me. Incompetence like this does nothing for the industry.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby cranky » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:35 pm

Sadly this pretty much sounds like the only scenario Mythbusters was able to come up with that actually resulted in a distillery explosion. Hope they pull through alright but this potentially could be a big setback for the hobby distiller.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:37 pm

If it was something as simple as coolant loss, the few dollars that it would have cost to install a solenoid and a temperature sensor would have been cheap insurance.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby woodshed » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:16 pm

Damn. If the door had been closed one can make the assumption they were on the right side of it so they could watch the still.
The door is the obvious trigger, and they should have never left the building.

I admit to doing other tasks while the stills are running but only under strict protocol. When pulling hearts I may step outside to get some sunshine but I never leave the site and am constantly checking the stills. Put a window inside the building to facilitate just that, checkin the stills.


Indeed it reflects poorly on the industry. Sad for all.



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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby bearriver » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:22 pm

Another black eye on American moonshine.

We all know the adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure. Those who choose to be lackadaisical about safety will exist in every profession and hobby. Guy got sucked into a woodchipper, gas station blows up, train gets derailed...ect Bad stuff happens when people don't do their job. Stills don't just blow themselves up. Someone blew it up with unprofessional choices. I'm just glad no one uninvolved with the distillery, such as the neighbors, we're injured.

Hopefully these guys will recover and consider a safer career path doing something else...

Posted the same time as Shed.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby cranky » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:28 pm

One of the articles I read said they left it unattended for 5Hr. :wtf: Plus they were rushing to fill a big order in time for some sort of grand opening.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby thecroweater » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:51 pm

Poor buggers, serious burns is the shit that keeps on shitting. There are some threads about suggesting ways to make a still safe enough to leave alone, no such animal. Want a still safe to leave be, get a Vinnie Van Gogh print end of story
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby NZChris » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:56 pm

woodshed wrote:The door is the obvious trigger, and they should have never left the building.


Opening a door isn't likely to provide an ignition source. Was one of them smoking when they opened the door?

Whatever the ignition source, some inexpensive automation could have shut off the propane before it turned the building into a bomb.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby woodshed » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:43 am

Did not say it was the ignition source only the trigger. Just as a trigger on a gun is not the source of ignition. Too coincidental that it blew up when they opened the door to be otherwise imo.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby still_stirrin » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:02 am

Right, Woodshed.

The "opened door" adds the third leg of the fire triangle.....oxygen. The room was likely already reasonably filled with alcohol vapors (improper condenser operation is suspect) and the burner was burning gently below the boiler. Heavy alcohol vapors collected in an area farther away from the flames and they didn't mix with the oxygen until the door opened (the trigger). Then....flash flame and explosion!
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby BoomTown » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:32 am

still_stirrin wrote:Right, Woodshed.

The room was likely already reasonably filled with alcohol vapors (improper condenser operation is suspect)
ss


Woodshed, if this were the cause, how would one check his own condenser to assure such a problem does not exist? I've often wondered if it is possible to ascertain that you are getting 100% recovery in the condensor....is there a test that won't blow you up?

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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby bearriver » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:40 am

I check my condensers and various other locations with a mirror after filling up a quart jar, so every 15 minutes. Even the smallest invisible wisp of steam will fog it up.

I also check for other potential hazards that have presented themselves in the past. It takes me about 5 minutes every 15. That gives me 10 minutes in between jars to sit and read next to the still or clean up my work area.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby woodshed » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:11 am

BoomTown wrote:
still_stirrin wrote:Right, Woodshed.

The room was likely already reasonably filled with alcohol vapors (improper condenser operation is suspect)
ss


Woodshed, if this were the cause, how would one check his own condenser to assure such a problem does not exist? I've often wondered if it is possible to ascertain that you are getting 100% recovery in the condensor....is there a test that won't blow you up?

Boomtown


I check water flow visually as it returns to my recirc tank and check condenser temp by touch. Also check to make pump is working by touch.
My recirc pumps are virtually silent but you can feel them running.

Unless you are pushing way too hard a proper setup should never allow vapors past provided you are paying attention. I would never run with an open flame either. After all fuel production which is what we all do at a base level should not involve flames IMO.

Kinda like mowing burning grass.
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Re: moonshine distillery explodes today

Postby yakattack » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:15 am

bearriver wrote:I check my condensers and various other locations with a mirror after filling up a quart jar, so every 15 minutes. Even the smallest invisible wisp of steam will fog it up.

I also check for other potential hazards that have presented themselves in the past. It takes me about 5 minutes every 15. That gives me 10 minutes in between jars to sit and read next to the still or clean up my work area.


Your checking with a mirror every 15 min? I do a check every time I run, but not throughout the run.

For those of us running on a recirculation system and electric heat a simple shutoff for the boiler that is tied to the pump as a redundant safety is a great idea. I'd pump stops running it kills power to the boiler. This is of course a redundancy, as it should never be out of site, but from a safety stand point it is a no brained. You could even have it so if your cooling water reaches a certian temp that it will kill power too. I plan on both.

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