Friday, May 18, 2018

Cease and desist on plane dismantling

RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) -- The village ordered a cease and desist on the company that's dismantling the planes at the former Chanute Air Force Base.

The planes caught fire three times in the last month. They say the man in charge wasn't taking them apart safely. Water didn't work to put out the fire that happened on Tuesday, May 15th. Crews had to use an expensive chemical foam to extinguish it. The village is going to send the bill to the people deconstructing the planes and they say it'll probably come out to a few thousand dollars. 

Kenneth Morrison is the man who bought several planes from base to take apart and turn into scrap metal. WCIA first talked to him in April when he started the deconstruction. 

Morrison said, "It's the first time I've ever bought aircrafts. I usually demolish bridges and other stuff like that." 

He said he doesn't have any experience in taking planes apart. The village of Rantoul has taken notice. 

Village Administrator Rick Snider says, "Airplanes are normally broken apart using crusher devices and in this case they're cutting it with torches through the metal. That's not a typical way of doing it." 

Those unconventional methods turned dangerous three times in one month. In April one plane caught fire while the crew was dismantling it.

After it happened, Morrison said, "We had a little accident. One of them had some fuel in it, I was under the impression the fuel had pretty much been removed and they even put a preservative in there but we hit one that didn't."

Anther fire happened on Tuesday. Again, WCIA caught up with Morrison to find out what happened. 

He said, "We were cutting when we hit a piece of manganese aluminum. Manganese is something that once it catches on fire you really can't put it out very easily."

Morrison said the fire could have been prevented if he used a different technique to take apart the plane.

"I guess I'm learning as I go." 

But the village said they don't want to risk this happening again. So they put a cease and desist order on the project.

Snider says, "With some of the larger aircrafts still remaining to be salvaged, I would be concerned about the safety of any personnel in or nearby that aircraft if a fire were to start." 

The village notified the air force of the cease and desist order and they'll be reviewing what happened. The work is stopped indefinitely, or until they can prove to the village that the new salvage methods are safe. 

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  1. Do not grind magnesium (at all) or aluminum in a confined space. Magnesium will burn on the spot and water will simply make it mad and burn more fiercely. Aluminum dust if ignited will flash into flame like a fuel or explode if confined.

    About 3 hours worth of instruction from a retired Air Force Mechanic or the local HAZMAT team would provide enough instruction to make this work.

    It would be better to use a bulldozer track/blade to crush and smash off haul-able pieces.

  2. Torches are the worst way to scrap matter how old they are, there is still some fuel, hydraulic oil, etc in them... The scrapper should not have been allowed to buy them... Better to sell to an experienced salvager or private parties looking to preserve or salvage for parts.
    Unfortunately, our foolish gov't has decided that we can't own aircraft, etc that we paid for...but, we can go to Russia and bring back their planes...rather a twisted irony to that...
    Perhaps the city could put some pressure on the air force to allow them to sell what's currently left to private people who want to preserve them, or to competent salvagers that can part them out? There are a number of museums, etc that would be interested in the parts, like cockpits, engines, etc....they can probly make more than the scrapper would....