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  1. #1
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    Default Lesson from the LODD in NJ

    The LODD announced today in New Brunswick, NJ has led me to think. There is a lesson to be taken here.

    Especially during the winter months, where do you store your LPG cylinder from your grille? Where does your neighbor store it? My guess would be that the overwhelming majority of people store them in a garage or in the basement.

    I remember a job that I investigated several years ago in which a family was moving their grille inside for the cold months. They brought it in through the kitchen and tried to take it down the interior basement stairs. They dropped it and the valve broke off the cylinder. In order to stop the propane from leaking into the house, they packed towels around the door.

    Before they could do anything else, an explosion occurred that lifted the house off the foundation and blew out all the doors and windows. There was a small fire that damaged the basement.

    This might be a consideration during your size-up. It would be difficult to alter your tactics on every job, but it might be worth an inquiry to the property owner in a fire near the garage or basement.

    Remember, LPG is an extremely volatile material. It expands many times its volume in the phase change from liquid to gas. It is much heavier than air, so it can collect in pockets at very low levels. It has a relatively low ignition temperature. LPG is very dangerous stuff.

    Please do not interpret this as a criticism of this particular tragedy. I never have given this hazard a thought on any fire before today. I suspect that most of us have not. Let us learn from a tragedy.


  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Unhappy Thanks George,................

    You are correct, I never gave this one much thought either. We are blessed with a fair percentage of Townhouses with basement Garages and no other storage. That would seem to give us the possibility of a Fire involving an Auto AND propane at the same time. There are a lot of folks who cover their grills and leave them on the patio or deck as well. We have had several Fires where Fire started on the Deck and spread up the exterior wall and into the attic. This gave us the experience of a large body of Fire in a Sprinklered building! Seems that since the attic is not considered habitable space, it is unheated, and therefor not sprinklered. Garages are sprinklered and have all walls and ceiling layered with a minimum of 1 inch of greenboard. If the greenboard is not punctured, it holds Fire for at least 45 minutes. One thing for sure, design a more Fire resistive structure, someone will design a better Fire.
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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    Very good points. The thing that makes this really bad is the storage in the living quarters. Basements, sheds and garages usually cause a much higher level of concern for me with storage of haz mats. What I sent out to our members is be vigilant in apartments particularly. Use of BBQ's on balconies is illegal. Management sometimes tours the complex to spot them so the tentants keep them inside. We get dispatched to a fair number of investigations concerning grills on balconies. Code enforcement becomes everyones responsibility when it involves iminent hazards such as this.
    Last edited by Halligan84; 09-04-2004 at 09:41 AM.

  4. #4
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    Dan,

    There are lessons to be learned in everything we do. No one is criticizing. I think George is trying to point out that interior LPG storage can be more common than we think, and presents with a huge hazard.

    Several years ago we had a fir ein the next Town over, while co's were making the second floor hallway, the hoseline burned through (a lesson there too). 2 guys bailed back down the stairs, the 3rd guy couldn't make it. He went for a window. Suddenly the fire took off and raised the temps inside to an unbearable level. He was getting ready to jump from a window when they placed a ladder for him to bail out onto. Cause of the fire increase....LPG tank in the kitchen.

    Dave

  5. #5
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    A lesson does not lessen the value of what the Deputy did.

    He done good!

    He made the ultimate sacrafice!

    May he rest in peace!

  6. #6
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Us Too.....................

    Originally posted by Halligan84
    Use of BBQ's on balconies is illegal. Management sometimes tours the complex to spot them so the tentants keep them inside. We get dispatched to a fair number of investigations concerning grills on balconies. Code enforcement becomes everyones responsibility when it involves iminent hazards such as this.
    That seems to be a problem everywhere. We get them too, every summer weekend is good for one or two.
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  7. #7
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    ditto Dave .........Harve one or two every weekend ? that seems a bit much to me.
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  8. #8
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    A lesson does not lessen the value of what the Deputy did.

    He done good!

    He made the ultimate sacrafice!

    May he rest in peace!


    Nowhere did I say anything to diminish the acts of bravery that this DC performed. Nowhere did I indicate that I knew the exact details of the job. My number one concern is the safety of fire fighters. When I see an opportunity to point out a lesson that may keep those fire fighters safe, I have and will in the future, point them out.
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 09-05-2004 at 11:08 AM.

  9. #9
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Nowhere did I say anything to diminish the acts of bravery that this DC performed. Nowhere did I indicate that I knew the exact details of the job. My number one concern is the safety of fire fighters. When I see an opportunity to point out a lesson that may keep those fire fighters safe, I have and will in the future, point them out.
    George, I don't believe anyone was accusing you of that.

    Thanks for the reminder.......

  10. #10
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    George is absolutely correct. In Minnesota, it is fairly common for people to grill year round. Especially when you consider summer is about 2 weeks long...
    One of the big problems is when the cylinders are filled during the winter. Do to the cold, the vapor pressure is different and once the tanks get warm, the gas expands, many time popping the valve. Very bad in a basement or heated garage. This is also common to those that ice fish and it's to cold to vaporize the gas. Many will bring the tanks in the icehouse to warm them up. Same concerns. Burn up a few shacks on the hard water a year.

    Code enforcement becomes everyones responsibility when it involves iminent hazards such as this.
    In St. Paul, private residences are not inspected. Tough to enforce any codes...
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  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Post Me Too......................

    Originally posted by Weruj1
    ditto Dave .........Harve one or two every weekend ? that seems a bit much to me.
    That IS a bit much, but with lots of "Garden" Apartments, and a rapidly growing immigrant population that simply does not understand America's interest in Fire Safety, we get calls. While I'm on the subject, here's a true story. FD is called to an Apartment building for "smoke from the third floor window". Units arrive to find light amounts of smoke from a kitchen window. Looked like a "food on the stove" call, which is a common problem. Officer and crew go to the Apartment and find an immigrant family that had just arrived the day before, happily cooking on the gas stove. Problem was, there was no gas, so they stuffed wood from a pallet into the oven and lit it. Worked for them, I guess.
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  12. #12
    Disillusioned Subscriber Steamer's Avatar
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    from GWCFI:Nowhere did I say anything to diminish the acts of bravery that this DC performed.
    Nope, ya didn't. And nobody with posts currently up are saying ya did either.

    from firenresq77: George, I don't believe anyone was accusing you of that.
    With the current posts as they are visible, you would be correct. There was one early in the thread that said something like don't use a LODD to make a point, or something like that. I don't remember exactly what it said, but the poster has since come back and deleted it. That's what hfd66truck was referencing. Mongo taught me a long time ago to "cut and paste" when I referenced a post. Sometimes things change mid-stream, or in this case disappear entirely making the subsequent posts confusing at best.
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  13. #13
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    Default

    many times, small tanks are overfilled, especially in cold weather. the relief valve will pop off when taken into a warm area. happened to us with a 5000 gal tank on a truck many years ago. pilot light, etc., made for long day.

  14. #14
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Just remember..that 20 gallons of liquid propane equals 5400 gals in the gaseous state; an expansion rate of 270 to 1.
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  15. #15
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    That poster apparently recognized the error of his ways and told me he was deleting the post. He asked me to delete the quote, so I did.

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