PHMSA Orders Companies to Cease Transportation of Experimental Gas

An investigation, conducted by PHMSA, found a pattern of severe explosions resulting in at least one fatality, serious property damage, and injuries associated with TyLar, and experimental gas.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has declared several California-based companies an imminent hazard, and ordered the companies to immediately cease all transportation of the experimental gas known as TyLar. The investigation, conducted by PHMSA, found a pattern of severe explosions resulting in at least one fatality, serious property damage, and injuries associated with TyLar.

“The safety of the American people is my top priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “And when companies put the traveling public at risk by recklessly disregarding safety regulations, we will take action.”

This action prohibits Strategic Sciences Inc., Realm Industries, Rainbow of Hope, and Timothy A. Larson from filling any cylinder with TyLar gas and from transporting those cylinders. PHMSA used its authority, which was granted under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Act, because investigators said this experimental gas posed an imminent hazard to the public, health, property, and the environment.

“The safety of our nation’s hazardous materials transportation system is a priority and the investigation into these incidents is ongoing,” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia L. Quarterman. “It is our responsibility to ensure that hazardous materials are properly marked, packaged, and shipped to U.S. households and businesses, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

An explosion involving TyLar gas on Aug. 9, in Sylmar, Calif., injured three people and resulted in substantial property damage to the production facility. An ongoing investigation, being conducted by PHMSA’s Western Field Operations Office and in collaboration with other law enforcement and safety agencies, indicates that an undeclared shipment of TyLar was placed into transportation in DOT approved 3AA cylinders as recently as Aug. 8, the day before the explosion.

Other explosions have also resulted from the transport of TyLar. On June 17, 2010, an explosion resulted in a fatality at a previous TyLar business location. On Dec. 15, 2008, a TyLar facility suffered an explosion that caused property damage but no injuries. In addition, TyLar’s exact composition and properties have not been revealed.

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