Hannibal Courier-Post

Some airport fuel sales halted by pump fires


By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Jan. 13, 2020 5:35 pm

HANNIBAL | The sale of 100 low lead fuel at Hannibal Regional Airport could resume later this month. That aviation fuel has not been available for purchase at the airport since mid-December after a pair of flash fires within an hour caused minor damage to the pumping system for that fuel.

“It might be a little bit longer. It might be a little bit shorter. It just depends on when the parts come in because these are not normal things,” said Andy Dorian, the city's director of central services, following the Thursday, Jan. 9, meeting of the Hannibal Airport Advisory Board.

Dorian said “very, very minimal” fire damage occurred to a 100 low lead canister which houses that system's fuel filter. Because 10 to 15 other “minor things” also need to be done to the 100 low lead system the decision was made to perform all the upgrades at once.

“That's why we have been down for a couple of weeks,” Dorian said, referring to the sale of 100 low lead fuel.

Although the fires were confined to the 100 low lead fuel system, the Jet A pump was also shut down for a time as a precaution.

“The Jet A was down for one day just to monitor it and make sure nothing was wrong. We got that back up and running the next day. Obviously with Survival Flight we wanted to make sure Jet A was up and running quickly,” Dorian said.

The loss of 100 low lead fuel sales revenue for almost a month has not had a major impact on the airport's bottomline, according to Dorian.

“We sell a lot more Jet A than 100 low lead, and with it being winter time we would not be selling a bunch of low lead anyway,” he said. “Has it affected some sales? Yeah. Has it made a huge difference? No. Probably in this last month we might have sold 500 gallons (of 100 low lead). A minor hit, but nothing major.”

The fires occurred on Dec. 13 while personnel from R.L. Hoener of Quincy, Ill., were changing out the fuel filters on the 100 low lead pump.

“There was a static charge and it ignited a small fire,” Dorian said. “It reignited itself about an hour later and they put that out as well.

“Jet fuel and aviation fuel are very susceptible to static charge. It is a dangerous thing.”

According to Dorian, a member of the R.L. Hoener staff suffered second degree burns to a leg.

Because the fire was extinguished so quickly the Hannibal Fire Departmentwas not called to the scene.

“I alerted them (HFD) and let them know there was no need,” he said. “We (parks department personnel) came out a little bit later and doused the whole area with probably 500 gallons of water.”