At 16:33 hours, on Saturday January 25, 2003, the City of Monroe Fire Department, North Carolina, was dispatched to a reported structure fire at Consolidated Metco.
While units were still enroute dispatch passed on that it might involve the two 30,000 gallon propane tanks on site. Arriving units found heavy fire coming from the rear of a 10,000 gallon propane tanker.
The tanker was on site to make a delivery to the fixed tanks. The tanker had a payload of 9,100 gallons. An accident during the fill process caused the fill hose to ignite the leaking propane.
The ensuing fireball ignited pallets, plywood, and other combustibles nearby that caused heavy flame impingement onto the tanker and threatening the storage tanks. Due to the heavy fire conditions it was feared the tanker could BLEVE which would have immediately involved the two fixed storage tanks approximately 20 feet away.
Shortly into the incident, the pressure relief valve on the tanker activated for about ten minutes. Fire attack consisted of numerous master streams to cool down the tanker and fixed tanks.
Once sufficient cooling was achieved, fire crews were able to use hand lines to extinguish the remaining fire. Crews remained on scene during off loading and environmental cleanup until approximately 10:00 Sunday January 26, 2003.
The driver escaped with no injuries. There were also no firefighter or civilian injuries were noted.
The units that responded were Engines 1,2,4, Quint 3, Squad 1, and mutual aid from Wingate VFD, Unionville VFD, Stallings VFD, Griffith Road VFD, Wesley Chapel VFD, and Bakers VFD.