Thursday, October 5, 2017

Jet fuel tank targeted by Las Vegas shooter will soon be inspected: McCarran International Airport (KLAS), Clark County, Nevada


Bullet holes marked as evidence on a fuel tank near the site of the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. The tank was struck by gunfire, October 1, 2017.





The giant jet fuel tank struck by rifle fire during the deadly Strip mass shooting has been drained and McCarran International Airport officials are close to hiring a safety expert to inspect it.

Airport officials hope to hire the consultant by the end of the month, spokesman Chris Jones said Thursday.

“We believe we are already fulfilling industry best practices in terms of the security and safety of the tanks, but whenever something happens, its prudent to assess and reevaluate,” Jones said.

The fueling system, which supplies small aircraft users nearby, has “remained functional,” Jones said.

But Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week that the 43,000-barrel tank and an adjacent twin tank, “need another layer of protection” in the wake of the Oct. 1 mass shooting across the street from the Mandalay Bay.

The Review-Journal reported earlier this month that the shooter had fired at the tanks from his 32nd -floor Mandalay Bay room, striking and penetrating one of the tanks but causing no fire or explosion. Experts have said it is virtually impossible for rifle fire to ignite jet fuel.

Richard Brenner, the Clark County Fire Department’s expert on hazardous materials, said Thursday the tanks present a “low potential for a problem” and are designed to withstand “extreme forces.”

Undergound pipelines from the tanks carry the fuel to nearby pumps, he said.

Two bullet holes on what is known as Tank 202, along with black powder burns and markings from investigators, were still visible Thursday near the top of the tank, which airport officials said was partially filled at the time of the shooting. Only one bullet made its way inside the tank, officials said.

Lombardo said the gunman may have tried to create an explosion or diversion by firing at the tanks before he sprayed the crowd of 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured, and the shooter later killed himself.

County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who announced a Democratic bid for governor this week, was the first to call for a security review of the jet fuel tanks, which are about 1,100 feet from the Las Vegas Village venue where the festival was held. The tanks, which are surrounded by a chain-link fence with barbed wire, sit on airport property and are operated by Swissport Fueling, which has declined to comment.

“We have to minimize the risk as much as we possibly can,” Giunchigliani said Thursday. “Who would have thought that a massacre like this would have occurred, let alone the individual had cased everything up to the point of knowing where our fuel tanks are located?”

Several airplane hangars belonging to prominent corporations are near the tanks.

https://www.reviewjournal.com






Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said Thursday she would seek a security review of the jet fuel tanks targeted Sunday by Las Vegas Strip mass murderer Stephen Paddock.

Giunchigliani, the commission’s vice chair and a possible candidate for governor next year, made her comments in the wake of a Wednesday Review-Journal report that Paddock used his Mandalay Bay hotel room to fire bullets at the circular tanks.

“This is something I will raise as an issue for us to take a look at now that we know it’s a potential safety hazard,” she said.

Also on Thursday, McCarran International Airport officials confirmed the Review-Journal’s report that a jet fuel tank was struck by gunfire the night Paddock killed 58 people and wounded almost 500 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival across the street before taking his own life. The outdoor Las Vegas Village venue, where the festival was held, is about 1,100 feet from the fuel tanks.

In a statement released to the newspaper, spokesman Chris Jones said airport officials were informed by local and federal law enforcement that one of the tanks was “struck by rifle fire during the tragic shooting event that occurred in Las Vegas the evening of Oct. 1.”

Jones said airport management learned that two rifle rounds struck a single 43,000-barrel fuel tank just east of the Mandalay Bay.

“One round penetrated Tank 202, which was partially filled with jet fuel,” the airport statement said. “A second round was found lodged within the same tank’s outer steel shell, and did not penetrate. This tank was subsequently evaluated by experts who found no evidence of smoke nor fire.”

Jones said the tank is being drained and will be reinspected and repaired.

A knowledgeable source said this week that both of the bullets struck near the top of the tank.

Several airplane hangars belonging to prominent corporations are near the tanks, which sit on property owned by the airport. The tanks are operated by Swissport Fueling, the company that runs the jet fuel operations for the airport.

The Review-Journal reported Wednesday that FBI agents had inspected the tanks and took measurements of the line of fire from Mandalay Bay. A team of forensics experts were brought to Las Vegas from FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Paddock, a 64-year-old Mesquite resident, had broken two windows in his 32nd-floor suite, one in line with the concert site and the other with a direct view of the fuel tanks, a knowledgeable source told the newspaper.

“Airport fueling has not been compromised,” Jones said late Wednesday. “It’s functional.”

In Thursday’s statement, Jones said McCarran’s fuel storage system meets all structural and safety requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association.

“The airport’s tank farms are designed to include a combination of manual and automated fire suppression systems to ensure the utmost public safety,” he said. “Contrary to speculation, there is almost zero likelihood gunfire damage could trigger a fire or explosion.”

But jet fuel expert Andrew Grant told Forbes on Thursday that a bullet could ignite jet fuel in a storage tank.

“Various conditions would have to be present, but yes, it could be possible,” Grant told the magazine.

Swissport officials did not respond to Review-Journal inquiries. The FBI has declined to comment.

Story and photo gallery:  https://www.reviewjournal.com



Las Vegas Strip mass murderer Stephen Paddock used his Mandalay Bay hotel room to fire bullets at jet fuel tanks Sunday night, a knowledgeable source told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The bullets left two holes in one of two circular white tanks. One of the bullets penetrated the tank, but did not cause a fire or explosion near the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, another knowledgeable source said late Wednesday.

The tanks are roughly 1,100 feet from the concert site, where Paddock killed 58 people and wounded almost 500. Several airplane hangars belonging to prominent corporations are also near the tanks. 

Within the past couple of days, a construction crew repaired the holes, and FBI agents inspected the tanks and took measurements of the line of fire from Mandalay Bay, the sources said.

Paddock, a 64-year-old Mesquite resident, had broken two windows in his 32nd-floor suite — one in line with the concert site and the other with a direct view of the fuel tanks, one source said.

The bases of private aircraft companies are also close to the tanks, which sit on property owned by McCarran International Airport.

“Airport fueling has not been compromised,” McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said late Wednesday. “It’s functional.”

The tanks are operated by Swissport, the company that runs the fueling operations for the airport, according to McCarran spokeswoman Christine Crews. They primarily are used to provide fuel to the private aircraft operators.

A Swissport official could not be reached for comment.

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault declined to comment. “We can’t comment on an ongoing investigation,” she said.

A source knowledgeable about airport operations said jet fuel is hard to ignite and tanks like those across from Mandalay Bay have mechanisms in place to prevent fires.

Mike Boyd, a Colorado-based aviation consultant, echoed those words.

“A machine gun is not going to blow up a tank of fuel,” Boyd said. “Jet fuel itself sitting there in a big wet pile is very hard to ignite. You have to be a very amateur terrorist to think anything like that.”

Story, video, photo gallery ➤ https://www.reviewjournal.com

2 comments:

Charlie said...

Years ago I watched “Myth Busters” for the first time they were doing a segment to see if a car would blow up if one shot the gas tank. They couldn’t do it.

Anonymous said...

"The aversion to human interaction even extended into Paddock’s flying, said a real estate broker, who, like Paddock, enjoyed piloting personal planes.

At the time of their acquaintance, Paddock had a sleek new aircraft — a Cirrus SR20. On the handful of flights they made together, Paddock would map out his path — steering away from controlled areas — just to avoid having to talk to the air traffic controllers, the broker said."