The cause of a serious apartment house fire, that occured on Oct. 25th, was determined by N.H. Fire Marshal Inspectors, and insurance inspectors to have been caused by a leak in the bottom of a 100# propane tank. Nearly coincident with the first smell of gas was an explosion and immediately flames extended to all four propane tanks at this location. Very quickly the safety vents opened on each tank and within a minute or two flames extended the full height of the two story building, entering the artic via a window broken by the heat.
This issue is not of the resulting fire, rather it is a question. Has anyone else run into tank failures such as this? It appears that these tanks had been in place for a long period of time. Tanks, such as these are now filled in place, with little concern as to the age or condition of the tanks. Gone are the days when tanks were replaced when empty, affording the refilling agency the opportunity to check tanks for corrosion. Are there thousands of similar tanks in our cummunities ticking away like bombs?
We were very lucky. It was 5PM, with everyone awake in the building. The building owner, who resides next door, and had just been notified of a gas smell and was walking towards the tanks when a source of ignition, from a basement propane fired hot water heater ignited the vapor cloud. 10 seconds later and the homeowner would have been standing in the vapor trying to shut off the tanks (which obviously would not have stoped the leak, but surly would have ruined his day).
Again, the question is "is this an isolated incident or a crisis waiting to reappear"?
2nd Dept. Chief
Henniker, NH Fire/Rescue
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Thread: 100# Propane Tank Hazard
11-09-2000, 01:15 PM #1Joe GilbertFirehouse.com Guest
100# Propane Tank Hazard
11-09-2000, 06:17 PM #2SkidzFirehouse.com Guest
The only thing that I can tell you is that this area is a kind of new comers area. Your best bet would be to re-post this in the haz mat section of the forum. I wish you the best of luck with finding an answer.
PROUD, PROFESSIONAL, PROGRESSIVE
Montgomery County Division Of Fire/Rescue Services
Member IAFF Local 1664
11-09-2000, 07:15 PM #3SRVFD2Firehouse.com Guest
I hope you follow the above advice and post this on the haz mat forum - cause your story sure scares me - and I'd like to hear from others about it!!
11-14-2000, 05:36 PM #4BrianMaccFirehouse.com Guest
Who owns the tanks, the homeowner or the propane gaz company?
Most tanks have a "shelf" life, and the expiration date is stamped on them. They are made of metal and will rust and fail. Most gaz companies check the date when refilling and will not refill a tank beyond its expiration date, just for the reason you state.
Its a very dangerous situation indeed, especially if they failed prior to their expiration date.
Any mention of expiration date on the tanks in the resulting inquiry?
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