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  1. #1
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    Default Leaking Propane Bobtail Truck- WWYD?

    SCENARIO: Propane company bobtail truck was driving down the road when it lost a driveshaft u-joint, causing the shaft to drop. When the driveshaft hit the ground, it was forced back up, into the bottom of the tank, rupturing it. You now have a stopped propane company bobtail truck leaking liquid propane. Truck is in the middle of a major roadway at 3PM on a weekday.

    Assuming you have all the equipment you think you would need, and there are no victims, how would you handle this?

    FYI- I have a VERY simple answer for this, I am just wanting to see if anyone else gets it.
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    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.


  2. #2
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    28 veiws and no takers? Come on at least throw out an idea!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  3. #3
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    Alot of variables here LOL....

    The tank specs is most likely an MC-331 w/ a max pressure of 500 psi and up to 1000 gal.

    Isolate/evacuate area radius to 330 feet and if it is a substantial leak... up to 1/2 mile downwind.

    Throw a wet towel on the leak and see if it'll ice itself closed or at least long enough to fibre wrap it and then offload into another truck.

    Apply water spray to the plume to disperse vapors as much as possible.

    Pretty much this is off the top of my head. I'm making alot of assumptions here based on my imagination of the incident.

    Be safe, R2

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    THe guy with the most knowledge of how to handle this is driving the truck in the first place. See what he recommends. Other than that, close the road and wait, it will be empty before you know it.
    Jason Brooks
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  5. #5
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    The wet towell is one I have never heard before. Don't see why it wouldn't work though.

    And I agree, the driver probably knows more about LP behavior than any of us do.

    What I would do: Assuming I had the correct adapter, I would connect a 2 1/2" line into the LP fill valve. Pump enough water into the tank that the LP floats on top of the water, and we now have a water leak. Plug the hole and off load the tank.

    Another idea brought to you by Ron Gore and Safety Systems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  6. #6
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    light a match . . . no more leaking propane!
    Puttin the wet stuff on the red stuff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    The wet towell is one I have never heard before. Don't see why it wouldn't work though.

    And I agree, the driver probably knows more about LP behavior than any of us do.

    What I would do: Assuming I had the correct adapter, I would connect a 2 1/2" line into the LP fill valve. Pump enough water into the tank that the LP floats on top of the water, and we now have a water leak. Plug the hole and off load the tank.

    Another idea brought to you by Ron Gore and Safety Systems.
    Sweet. It would work. The concern would be a pump failure and a backflow of propane into your appuratus pump if you didn't catch it quick enough which if your pumping you damn well better know if your truck stopped LOL and I would certainly fail to mention it to the city (begging for forgiveness is alot better than begging for permission if you have to resort to begging in the first place) if I was supplying from a hydrant which you really shouldn't need.

    The hose would... well, "should" handle the PSI and the eventual deadhead.

    Adapter is the biggie. Fab one on scene maybe?

    I'd do it. Would like to practice it first though.

    Be safe, R2

  8. #8
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    I am looking for my video of this process on a bobtail truck simulator.

    You brought up two good points. First, I forgot to mention the guy as close to the engine as possible with a hose clamp. He is standing by for just that situation. Second, I am going to call this comming week and see if anyone out there makes an adapter for this. Gore's crowd made thiers, but then again they made everthing they used since no one supplied it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    I am looking for my video of this process on a bobtail truck simulator.

    You brought up two good points. First, I forgot to mention the guy as close to the engine as possible with a hose clamp. He is standing by for just that situation. Second, I am going to call this comming week and see if anyone out there makes an adapter for this. Gore's crowd made thiers, but then again they made everthing they used since no one supplied it
    Pretty good idea. Keep in mind that the water you are pumping in under pressure is most likely going to be warmer than the LPG already inside and cause the vapor pressure to rise inside the tank which may cause the PRV to activate.

    What about contacting the local LPG company or contractor and have them transfer the product or flare off the product?

    Just my two cents...

    Spinner

  10. #10
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    Very good point about the PRV Spinner. Transfer is an option, but I dont see flaring turning out good when we are dealing with a liquid leak in the bottom of the tank
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  11. #11
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    Default One word: EVACUATE

    Something the size of a drive shaft through the bottom of a 331 equals a large hole which equals a large leak. Regardless of what offensive action you may be planning, your first action is evacuation. By the time you get there & get the evac. started, the product in the tank will likely have either leaked out completely or be at a very low level. This being the case, it seems to me that the risk to personnel is likely to be much greater than any benefit that will be gained (risk/benefit analysis).
    Would the wet towel trick work? Yeah, maybe for a while. The risk/benefit analysis would have to strongly support it though.
    The adding water trick - might work in theory but I'm not so sure I'm going to call for it - assuming I have that adapter pre-made (otherwise by the time I build it on scene, the tank really will be empty). Adding something warm to something really cold just seems like a bad idea - increasing the pressure on a damaged pressure vessel goes against common sense.

    I'll leave you with this:
    How many firefighters died last year? Way too many.
    How many HazMat Techs died last year? None.

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    If the truck is a bobtail as you say, then there is no trailer, meaning no tank to hold propane for delivery, hence no "big" problem.

    Do you mean a propane tank to provide fuel for the tractor? I'm seeing more and more propane tanks on class 8 diesel trucks around here. Propane injection on top of a diesel fuel system if I understand correctly. Either way, smaller tank. Still kill ya if it goes boom when you're standing near it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFDMAXX View Post
    If the truck is a bobtail as you say, then there is no trailer, meaning no tank to hold propane for delivery, hence no "big" problem.

    Do you mean a propane tank to provide fuel for the tractor? I'm seeing more and more propane tanks on class 8 diesel trucks around here. Propane injection on top of a diesel fuel system if I understand correctly. Either way, smaller tank. Still kill ya if it goes boom when you're standing near it.
    Umm. I think you may be mistaken about that one. A bobtail is a tanker truck, just not a trailer. More than enough to level its own little piece of the earth.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Umm. I think you may be mistaken about that one. A bobtail is a tanker truck, just not a trailer. More than enough to level its own little piece of the earth.


    Hmmmm...... we may have some regional differences here. Where I'm from a bobtail is a standard tractor-trailer without it's trailer. Hence, a bobtail. Not mistaken. That's the problem with slang terms, there is no universal standard.
    Last edited by DFDMAXX; 04-28-2009 at 09:49 PM.

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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Kinda like out west, a tanker has wings

    This is a bobtail truck when it is used in reference to a propane or other type of tanker.

    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Kinda like out west, a tanker has wings

    This is a bobtail truck when it is used in reference to a propane or other type of tanker.

    Thanks. This thread makes more sense now.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimlanphear View Post
    Something the size of a drive shaft through the bottom of a 331 equals a large hole which equals a large leak. Regardless of what offensive action you may be planning, your first action is evacuation. By the time you get there & get the evac. started, the product in the tank will likely have either leaked out completely or be at a very low level. This being the case, it seems to me that the risk to personnel is likely to be much greater than any benefit that will be gained (risk/benefit analysis).
    Would the wet towel trick work? Yeah, maybe for a while. The risk/benefit analysis would have to strongly support it though.
    The adding water trick - might work in theory but I'm not so sure I'm going to call for it - assuming I have that adapter pre-made (otherwise by the time I build it on scene, the tank really will be empty). Adding something warm to something really cold just seems like a bad idea - increasing the pressure on a damaged pressure vessel goes against common sense.

    I'll leave you with this:
    How many firefighters died last year? Way too many.
    How many HazMat Techs died last year? None.
    When thinking of the size of the hole, don't think that it would be as large as the shaft itself. More than likely if a shaft dropped, the yoke would be what hit the tank, more than likely just causing a gash. And more than likely causing a slow leak.

    There is no might to the adding water "trick". It WILL work. And whatever pressure you think may be "created" will no doubt be a wonderful tradeoff to turn a very serious liquid propane leak, in the liquid space of the tank, into a water leak.

    And I am not sure where you are trying to go with the last comment, but it hardly seems appropriate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

  18. #18
    Forum Member GTRider245's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFDMAXX View Post
    Hmmmm...... we may have some regional differences here. Where I'm from a bobtail is a standard tractor-trailer without it's trailer. Hence, a bobtail. Not mistaken. That's the problem with slang terms, there is no universal standard.
    DFD, here a truck like the one pictured is referred to as a bobtail and is normaly used to deliver LP on site.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    When thinking of the size of the hole, don't think that it would be as large as the shaft itself. More than likely if a shaft dropped, the yoke would be what hit the tank, more than likely just causing a gash. And more than likely causing a slow leak.

    There is no might to the adding water "trick". It WILL work. And whatever pressure you think may be "created" will no doubt be a wonderful tradeoff to turn a very serious liquid propane leak, in the liquid space of the tank, into a water leak.

    And I am not sure where you are trying to go with the last comment, but it hardly seems appropriate.
    It's not if your going to relieve, it's when. You will. Simple physics which is easily remedied by ramping down the pressure from the pumper to the truck until the relief closes.

    And "bobtail" threw me also. We call those tractor/trailer rigs with no trailer.

    "How many firefighters died last year? Way too many.
    How many HazMat Techs died last year? None."

    Check your sources on that. Mainly because "Hazmat Techs" are synonymous with "Chemical Plant Worker" or "Operator". In the majority of facilities I have been in, Technician level is recquired. Alot are ok with Responder but usually Technician is the level they need. That pesky OSHA mumbo jumbo

    Be safe, R2

  20. #20
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    Default The Bobtail

    Forget about the specs of the truck. The problem is more propane then first responders. 1st. shut down traffic in both directions for 1mile, let the cops deal with the traffic problem. 2nd remove ignition sources in low lying areas. 3rd it's going to expand 1700 times it's org. size. forget about off loading it, Thats not our job! by the time someone gets there to off load it, it will all be gone. stay back, lots of fog streams and evacuate the area. the road will be opened in about 5 hours.

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