Propane tank ruptures in accident

April 23, 1995|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Sun Staff Writer

A tanker truck drifted into the meter of a 1,000-gallon propane tank, causing a filler hose to rupture and spew the gas into the air in downtown Mount Airy Friday morning.

No one was injured, but firefighters and hazardous-materials teams poured water onto the leak for almost two hours after the 10:15 a.m. accident until the cutoff valve could be reached and activated.

Propane is stored as a liquid but becomes a gas when released.

William Forman, the owner of WRF & Son Plumbing and Heating Co., said the truck, one of the company's septic tank service vehicles, was parked near two connected 1,000-gallon tanks Thursday evening and that chocks were placed behind the wheels as a safety measure.

Mr. Forman said the chocks were missing Friday and that the truck drifted into the tank.

Employees of several Main Street businesses and residents of Main Street and Hillcrest Avenue were evacuated. They were allowed to return about 12:30 p.m., officials said.

Hazardous-materials technicians and firefighters poured thousands of gallons of water onto the leaking hose. A breeze helped disperse the highly explosive gas.

Hazardous-materials specialists and firefighters from Carroll, Howard, Montgomery and Frederick counties and the hazardous-materials unit from Fort Detrick in Frederick County were dispatched to the site.

Fire officials kept spectators away from the leak.

Traffic on Main Street through the town was rerouted by state police.

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