TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — Did winter come a little early to Travis with a nice covering of snow on the flight line?
No, but a malfunction Tuesday in the new fire suppression system installed in one of Travis’ flight line hangars not only filled the hangar with a sea of fluffy white foam, but covered part of the flight line like an incoming tide, according to a release from the Army’s Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.
Lt. Col. Dan Guinan, commander of Travis’ 60th Civil Engineer Squadron, said Thursday that the base is finalizing its investigation into the leak.
“We believe it was a water surge,” Guinan said.
Guinan said the pump house was activated due to the installation of a similar foam system in Hangar 809, causing increased water flow throughout that area of the base.
No aircraft or people were harmed in the incident that made the flight line look like the door to a giant dishwasher had come open too early, according to the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System.
Guinan said hundreds of pounds of foam flowed during an estimated five-minute period before responders were able to enter a foam-filled control room and stop the system.
The foam, which is not hazardous, is similar to dish foam and it eventually dissolved into liquid, a process helped along by brisk winds. Travis firefighters helped control the foam with powerful fans and by covering drains.
“It was like that ‘Brady Bunch’ episode when the kids put too much soap in the washing machine,” Guinan said.
This incident came about two months after the Naval Facilities Engineering Command put on a demonstration of the new fire suppression system in Hangar 818. The system is capable filling the hangar’s entire 85,000 square feet with foam in a couple of minutes. Four of Travis’ hangars have the system and a fifth is expected to be equipped with it in the near future.
Guinan said he’s been in contact with the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District, which Guinan said was pleased by the action taken.
“If there’s good news to this, everyone responded the way they’re supposed to,” Guinan said.
Nick DeCicco contributed to this report. Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.
This version corrects the amount of foam that was estimated to have been released during an approximate five-minute period of time.