Chemical Incident Analysis Involving Storage of Fertilizer Product


  • Rogerio de Medeiros Tocantins Instituto Geral de Perícias de Santa Catarina
  • Bettina Tomio Heckert
  • Rafael Salum de Oliveira
  • Hélio João Coelho
  • Gisele Chibinski Parabocz
  • Suellen Pericolo



self-sustaining decomposition, fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, forensic engineering, exothermic reaction


A forensic engineering analyses of a chemical incident is presented that was classified as a self-sustaining decomposition (SSD) event, which occurred in a load of 10,000 tons of NK 21-00-21 fertilizer bulk stored inside a warehouse in the city of São Francisco do Sul in Brazil. The chemical reaction developed within the fertilizer mass and took several days to be controlled, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of residents. The water used to fight against the reaction, after having contact with the load of fertilizer material, promoted changes in adjacent water bodies, causing the death of animals (fish, crustaceans, and amphibians). The smoke from the chemical reaction products damaged the incident’s surrounding vegetation. Large SSD events are rare, with an average worldwide frequency of one every three years. Therefore, in addition to presenting a case study of this type of phenomenon, the main objective of this work is to discuss the causes that led to SSD reaction at this event, evaluate its consequences, and motivate future studies.

Author Biography

Rogerio de Medeiros Tocantins, Instituto Geral de Perícias de Santa Catarina

Mr. Tocantins graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina State-Brazil in 2004, degree in Forensic Science from Civil Police Academy of the State of Santa Catarina-Brazil in 2009, specialization in Policy and Management in Public Security from the Estácio de Sá University-Brazil in 2013, and specialization in Analytical Reconstruction of Traffic Crash from the Training Center for Research and Reconstruction of Traffic Crashes CE-IRAT-Argentina, in 2017. He works as an Official Forensic Scientist of the Government from State of Santa Catarina – Brazil conducting forensic investigations of crime scenes, specially related with Forensic Engineering as Fire Investigations and Traffic Crash Investigations.


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How to Cite

de Medeiros Tocantins, Rogerio, Bettina Tomio Heckert, Rafael Salum de Oliveira, Hélio João Coelho, Gisele Chibinski Parabocz, and Suellen Pericolo. 2021. “Chemical Incident Analysis Involving Storage of Fertilizer Product”. Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers 38 (1).