Nomex® Gives Refinery Worker Valuable Escape Time

A refinery worker flash fire experience showcases how inherently flame-resistant DuPont™ Nomex® can help save lives.

Industry

When Marvin Staben, a Colorado Refining Company worker, dressed for work on a subzero winter morning, he had no idea that the coveralls and coat of DuPont™ Nomex® he put on would help save the life of this refinery worker against a flash fire that day.

As Staben was walking around the end of a 5,000-gallon horizontal drum, he saw a flash out of the corner of his eye. In that instant, a flammable vapor cloud surrounding him found an unknown ignition source, and Staben was engulfed in flames.

Solution

Another employee saw refinery worker Staben trying to escape the fire, and urged him to keep rolling when he started to get up. After three more rolls, when Staben had traveled 35 feet from the point of ignition, the coworker pulled Staben out of the fire.

Though Staben could have been fatally burned, his only injuries were first- and second-degree burns to his face and neck. He credits his protective clothing made with flame-resistant DuPont™ Nomex® with saving his life.

Results

“I feel I was very, very fortunate,“ Staben concluded about his flash fire encounter. “My whole life could have changed in a few seconds. I know that if I hadn’t been wearing Nomex®, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

Using DuPont

Because of the protection it offers, apparel of DuPont™ Nomex® fiber is worn not only by refinery workers, but also by firefighters, electrical utility workers, racecar drivers, and military personnel.

View the full case history of this worker’s escape from a flash fire, and learn why companies like Colorado Refinery have had a mandatory DuPont™ Nomex® clothing policy since 1979.