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Fire Dept. Crashes Our OC Event

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 26 comments

Things arrived smoothly the day before. Equipment, liquid nitrogen tanks — all eight of them — and the competitors. Everyone was definitely gearing up and getting prepared for the event that would occur today.

Unfortunately, things would get worst before it got better. One of the building owners didn’t quite like the way we had eight giant tanks stored in our offices, and essentially told us that he would shut the entire event down — even though we offered to store the tanks outside. Clearly he was threatened by the size of our large, long, vessels.

Things were looking pretty grim for the competitors that were here. No matter, we decided to push ahead with it anyway — we’re cool like that.

Come today, we moved everything outside. All the tables were setup, and we pitched some tents and got everything going. The competitors were ready and pumped up to come over to our offices to kick start the event, but our pesky building owner came by again to put yet another damper on the competition.

"This is a fire hazard," he exclaimed.

Interestingly, liquid nitrogen displaces oxygen, and we all know what a necessary component oxygen is to sustain fires. In fact, all our giant liquid nitrogen tanks were gigantic fire extinguishers, slowly consuming the oxygen that was in the air.

We attempted to explain the situation. After what seemed like an eternity of arguing, the building manager decided to call the owner of the building, and eventually told us that the fire department would come over to "extinguish" the situation — not that there was ever a fire hazard to begin with!

Fortunately, one of our competitors, Jake Crimmins from team Ironmods was there to answer all of the safety and technical questions from the fire department. Jake informed the guys in yellow that everything was safe. Working with liquid nitrogen since birth, Jake clearly knew what he was talking about.

The liquid nitrogen tanks have several safety precautions to keep dangerous situations at bay. First, there is a 22 PSI pressure valve that’s constantly and slowly releasing excess pressure. If things get really hairy, and for some unlikely situation the tanks heat up and build too much pressure, there is a 400 PSI blow off valve.

Jake also told the fire department, when asked, that the tanks should be stored next to a wall. This is of course done to prevent them from tipping over in case of an earthquake.

Clearly, the fire fighters were testing our knowledge in liquid nitrogen safety, and in no time, the fire fighters were pleased with Jake’s answers. With that, the building owner apologized to us for what he thought would be the next Chernobyl.

Overclocking begins! Next update coming soon!

Update: Update 2 now available. Fierce emotions and animal-like behavior run rampant in the competition!

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  • 4 Hide
    nukemaster , November 8, 2008 9:04 PM
    That's priceless!
  • 4 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 8, 2008 9:18 PM
    Laugh. A manager has a right to be concerned, you would think you would need permits to have X amount of stored gas in any one place though. As long as they're permitted (have permits) I guess I don't see how anyone could complain. As a manager though, it is in your best interest to throw a ruckus rather than just assume it's ok. If a building does go up in flames it's your job on the line. Any building owner would want his people to watching out.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , November 8, 2008 9:19 PM
    nukemasterThat's priceless!

    Actually, I'm sure that liquid nitro wasn't cheap. :-P
  • -3 Hide
    customisbetter , November 8, 2008 9:42 PM
    I would hope your manager understands the labels on the side of the tanks or else he shouldn't be in a position of leadership.
  • 4 Hide
    altazi , November 8, 2008 9:45 PM
    Nitrogen itself isn't dangerous, being a largely inert gas that makes up 78% of our atmosphere. Nitrogen doesn't "consume" oxygen; it merely displaces it when in a confined space. You could be asphixiated if you released substantial quantities of nitrogen into your confined surroundings without adequate ventilation.
  • -2 Hide
    Hatchet , November 8, 2008 9:57 PM
    liquid Nitrogen a fire hazard? lolololol
  • -2 Hide
    radguy , November 8, 2008 10:30 PM
    Just another showing of how stupid and dumb people who don't know anything and just assume stuff can really be. Its one thing to ask questions its another to just assume the worst. To compare 8 liquid nitrogen tanks to chernobyl really really really sad. Sorry you guys had to endure that.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , November 8, 2008 10:39 PM
    Hmmm... why wouldn't he trust them... If i was him, I would have said... if anything goes wrong... I place the blame on you... even though thats not how things work... thats what i would have done :D 
  • 0 Hide
    kyeana , November 8, 2008 11:05 PM
    lmao! oh wow thank god for morons! How else would i get my laughs during the day!
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyMash , November 8, 2008 11:27 PM
    Oh noes! And a superconductive Chernobyl, at that!
  • 2 Hide
    DFGum , November 8, 2008 11:41 PM
    Watch a motherboard burst into flames tommorow.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 9, 2008 1:06 AM
    lol really... watch there be a nuclear meltdown for some unknown region in the area... then we'll all feel like the moron
  • -1 Hide
    kamkal , November 9, 2008 2:27 AM

    chemistry 101 ftw for this "manager"

  • 0 Hide
    Luscious , November 9, 2008 3:48 AM
    Typical building owner - more money than brains, with a moron for manager to boot.
  • 0 Hide
    Scarchunk , November 9, 2008 11:43 AM
    "Clearly he was threatened by the size of our large, long, vessels."

  • 0 Hide
    terror112 , November 9, 2008 1:03 PM
    scarchunk"Clearly he was threatened by the size of our large, long, vessels."Clearly....

    HA! Made my day.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 9, 2008 1:51 PM
    "Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil." - Plato
    All I can say is that at least the building owner came up to apologize in the end and hopefully learnt something new from the experience; e.g. that it is good to stick to your guns if you truly believe there is a problem, but to also do your homework thoroughly before throwing a haffy fit in public about something you know absolutely nothing about, which only really undermines your credibility and authority as a leader and has the nasty tendency of making you look very stupid :)  Nice work guys!
  • 1 Hide
    piratepast40 , November 9, 2008 2:54 PM
    Very curious comments. A good example of herd mentality and resistance to authority, or more precisely, resistance to being questioned about your own knowledge. I didn't see any mention of safety briefings or the hazards of handling the Dewar or transport containers. The reaction and comments are very curious indeed.
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , November 9, 2008 5:10 PM
    Clearly he was threatened by the size of our large, long, vessels.

  • 4 Hide
    zerapio , November 9, 2008 6:36 PM
    This is bad planning from the OC event organizers. The organizers should have discussed this topic with the building manager and answer any safety question he had BEFORE the event. Maybe have a firefighter revise the nitrogen handling plan with the building manager and give the OK. That would have saved a lot of grief.

    And to those calling the building manager stupid, I suppose you're well trained in reading the safety label on the side of the tank; and know the proper procedure to transport and store all sorts of hazardous materials.
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