Home Podcasts THMG104 – Propane Scenarios, Part I: Tank on Fire

THMG104 – Propane Scenarios, Part I: Tank on Fire


Mike and Bob respond to a listener request and explain what we would do at a propane incident when the tank is on fire.

Complete Show Notes

2:40 Bob’s Propane Tank Fire Scenario

  • You’re alerted to a propane tank that’s leaking and on fire
  • When you arrive on-scene, you see an active fire coming from a propane barbecue grill on the rear wooden deck of a two-story wood framed house
  • There’s a 6-foot PVC fence around the house
  • The lid of the grill is closed – it’s around two feet from the house under a soffit/eave
  • Private dwelling in a residential area

3:15 Stretching a Line and Protecting the Interior of the Home

  • If you’re with an engine company, the first thing to do is stretch 1 ¾-inch line into the building – this helps you address any smoke or fire that’s entered into the building first
  • Shoot from the booster tank first to avoid wasting time, and then find a positive water source
  • You always want to protect the building and push the fire and smoke outside and away from the structure
  • Goal is to protect exposure above and behind the object that’s on fire – you can do this with a fog stream without putting the fire out

12:00 Establishing a Second Line

  • Line placement depends on how well you feel you’re controlling the fire with the first line – always determine this before you get any additional lines set up
  • If you have good control over your exposures, keep a line on them and another line on the tank
  • If you lose control over the exposures, you need a line nearby to quickly go inside and knock down anything that’s out of control
  • The engine company can help you keep an eye on what’s going on outside and open up the cabinet for you

17:00 Keeping Other Responders Comfortable

  • Start by empathizing with them and reassuring them that you understand their concern
  • Then, tell them not to worry and to trust you as the hazmat technician

21:05 What to Do Once the Tank is on the Lawn

  • The tank is still on fire, but you’re no longer dealing with any exposure risks since it’s away from the house
  • Keep a gentle fog line on the tank to cool the headspace since there’s no concern of it blowing up anymore
  • If the pressure relief device (PRD) is going off, figure out how to keep a water supply on the tank while also moving people away from it
  • If you’re cooling the tank and the PRD is still going off, you’re dealing with a defective PRD – this isn’t something an operations-level responder can deal with
  • Any time you’re dealing with a propane tank that’s on fire, you have to call a technician-level crew in

27:15 Putting the Fire Out

  • The fire is steady and coming from underneath – this means there’s very little you can do to turn the fire off
  • If you can figure out where it’s coming from, tell the engine company to focus their fog pattern next to you so you can reach in and shut off the valve
  • Keep in mind that everything we’ve discussed here is based on operations-level response (with technician-level knowledge)

Have a question? Send an email to feedback@thehazmatguys.com or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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