K&A Awarded Largest Navy Fuel Tank Farm

March 2nd, 2011

Naval Base Point Loma began construction on a new state-of-the-art fuel storage facility at the Defense Fuel Support Point Point Loma in San Diego. During the planning phase Klausbruckner & Associates was contracted to provide expert fire and building code services on this Navy’s largest single fuel storage and handling facility.

The Defense Fuel Support Point (DFSP) Point Loma is the only defense fuel facility in the Southern California region. When completed in 2014, this five-year, $139-million construction project will allow for the closure of 75 percent of existing above ground and underground storage tanks for jet and diesel fuels. Klausbruckner & Associates was asked to review and analyze the planned multi-storage fuel depot’s fire safety design, to ensure design compliance based on Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) and fire and building codes from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Furthermore Klausbruckner & Associates provided design recommendations for tank exposure protection, and recommended state of the art infrastructure to limit ecological impact in the event of a fire.

The Project & Challenges

The challenge in this project was that high-end residential homes and a large bay including the San Diego harbor directly adjacent to it surround this more than 100-year old fuel storage facility. As a result, concerns not only with respect to the fuel depot’s own fire and building safety but also with the safety of the adjacent residential homes and any ecological concerns for the bay needed to be addressed. In the last few years this latter topic has received worldwide attention since the occurrence of several major fire disasters in Europe and their ecological aftermath on rivers and lakes.


A comprehensive solution approach was taken to address all fire related issues of the proposed fuel tank farm. First and as part of the overall hazard analysis, a research of the history of fuel tank fires and explosions was performed. Portions of this study were done as an overall evaluation of the hazards associated with tank farms specific to the proposed fuels used in the Point Loma Tank Farm. Discussed were the likelihood or probability of ignition including evaluations of sources of ignitions, hazards contributing to an ignition, and the types of tanks that are inherently safer from an ignition standpoint. The history on severity of fire and most likely suppression modes were reviewed for tank farms containing similar fuels to allow additional recommendations on modes of suppression.

In the following phase, engineering analyses including FDS fire simulations for full surface fires involving unheated Class IIIA liquids were developed to study the impact of fire development including fire spread and their result on surrounding building exposure and fire fighting operations.

Based on the data from the historical review and the engineering analyses, design recommendations were given with respect to individual tank separations, the choice and impact of foam fire protection, and emergency relief venting under fire. Addressing environmental concerns, a new and innovative implementation for spill control & secondary containment using a combination of diked areas were developed to control run-off to the adjacent bay (harbor) and potential contamination of the soil.

The overall fire safety design included the needs for successful fire fighting operations to be incorporated in the overall fuel depot design and layout. Therefore and as part of the developed emergency response plan, firefighting safe separation distances and staging areas for fire department operations were analyzed based on computer fire simulations and discussed in lieu of historical data for these types of fires. The analyses included an assessment of the impact of fire on remote impoundments and residences adjacent to the fuel depot including the effect of heat fluxes created by a burning fuel tank that may cause fuels in the remote impoundment to create secondary fires.


The result of this large-scale engineering effort will lead to increased safety of the DFSP Point Loma due to its state of-the-art design and infrastructure upgrades. The Klausbruckner & Associates team is proud to have provided engineering leadership for this new fuel storage facility, which is designed for the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

It will be the first fuel facility in US to achieve LEED certification.

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