That answer provides a ray of hope, with respect to HAZCO confirming that sulphur fires can and do happen. Still, HAZCO stopped short of confirming that sulphur fires happen very often and often cause serious harm.
As to the "question" (quite possibly phrased by HAZCO), the web page on the outcomes of Internet searches in relation to sulphur fires verbatim states this:
As of 2005 07 24, a search of the Internet for Sulfur OR Sulphur AND Residents AND evacuated produced a search-return-list with 26,600 entries containing links to stories and articles covering incidents during which residents had to be evacuated.
When the search string was modified to include the term "fire", the search-return-list still contained 23,000 entries.
Elsewhere, HAZCO stated that such statements are opinions. Well, it is quite obvious that whoever formulated the answer to the question had to make some concessions to the reality of there being frequent, numerous and quite often seriously and very harmful sulphur fires throughout the world.
In view of its above concession to facts and reality it is puzzling that HAZCO insists elsewhere in its answer to a frequently-asked question in relation to the facts stated in these web pages (the very pages you are reading right now) pertaining to HAZCO's intentions that,
Again, it’s not appropriate for us to comment on what others are saying or doing. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and Hazco encourages open and constructive feedback.
Nevertheless, HAZCO comments now and comments even affirmatively. HAZCO appears to be waffling when it says in one place that it can't comment on "opinions" (that are nevertheless statements of fact) and then proceeds in another to comment, in spite of the initial denial. Why is that? Is it a version of the truth according to HAZCO, only the convenient snippets of the truth?
Still, although HAZCO states in its response to FAQ #34 that it cannot comment on "web site searches with respect to sulphur fires," it is nevertheless aware of the web page that discusses those searches. HAZCO did not even have to look up that web page. The Lamont County Office staff did that for HAZCO, printed the page, and faxed a copy of it to HAZCO, accompanied by an erroneous annotation that the web page had been a product of the efforts of the Friends of Lamont County.[*]
HAZCO ostensibly took to heart the advice offered in these pages with respect to the groundwater table being so high at their proposed location that they changed their mind and switched from sub-surface
sulphur-block storage to above-ground
sulphur-block storage on an asphalt pad. Will they also take the advice offered on the page that the Lamont County Office faxed to HAZCO and look up the recommended outline of an emergency-response plan in the event of a sulphur fire? (See footnote to SO2 Toxicity Table) HAZCO has had years to come up with an emergency response plan, but all HAZCO can offer as of now is the promise that it will produce one — eventually. Doesn't that make you wonder whether the residents of the County of Lamont (as perhaps did the ones of the Sturgeon- and Thorhild Counties) come last in HAZCO's priority list?
* One can't help but wonder why anyone in the Lamont County Office is so technologically-challenged with respect to the workings of the Internet and the advantages offered by live web pages as to go to the ridiculously wasteful exercise of faxing a copy of a web page of interest to someone that has access to the Internet, as HAZCO does. A faxed copy of a web page is vastly inferior to the real thing. A faxed copy:
- Is potentially out-of-date even before a printed copy of it has been carried over to the fax machine;
- Seldom displays the proper colours of the original;
- Is not clickable and therefore does not provide access to context information that is often vitally important to understanding a web page itself, as is the case with the web page that was faxed to HAZCO;
- Is often far less legible than the original; and is far less useful than to simply e-mail the address of the webpage, and lastly
- Is far more expensive and wasteful of time than it is to send the web page address by e-mail to the intended recipient. Mind you, the good thing about the fax is that, if nothing was cropped when faxing the copy of the web page, the faxed printout of the page carries the web page address, so that the recipient of the fax can copy the web page address by hand and type it into the location field of his browser. Unfortunately, all of that is vastly more inconvenient, error prone and time-consuming than to send the address only by e-mail and have the recipient click on the address without having to worry about him making any errors by laboriously copying and typing it.