Westport Fire Department Burns Off Propane From Leaking Tank

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Firefighters watch as propane gas from a damaged underground tank is burned off at a 121 Imperial Ave., in Westport late Saturday. The tank began leaking after it was hit by a construction vehicle.
Firefighters watch as propane gas from a damaged underground tank is burned off at a 121 Imperial Ave., in Westport late Saturday. The tank began leaking after it was hit by a construction vehicle. Photo Credit: Westport Fire Department
A firefighter watches as propane gas from a damaged underground tank is burned off at a 121 Imperial Ave., in Westport late Saturday. The tank began leaking after it was hit by a construction vehicle.
A firefighter watches as propane gas from a damaged underground tank is burned off at a 121 Imperial Ave., in Westport late Saturday. The tank began leaking after it was hit by a construction vehicle. Photo Credit: Westport Fire Department

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport firefighters ordered the evacuation of 10 homes as they burned off the fuel from an underground propane tank that began leaking after it was hit by a construction vehicle Saturday, the Westport Fire Department reported.

A leaking propane tank was reported at 3:39 p.m. Saturday at a home under construction at 121 Imperial Ave., Assistant Fire Chief Michael Kronick said. 

The Westport Fire Department dispatched two engines and a ladder truck with one assistant fire chief to the scene. When the first units arrived, they found a full 1,000 gallon underground propane leaking and filling the immediate area with propane gas, Kronick said.. 

Two additional engines were called to bring all on duty Westport Fire Department personnel -- 15 firefighters and officers -- to the scene, he said. Protective hose lines were put into place to protect two nearby structures, Kronick said. Ten homes were evacuated, affecting 25 to 30 residents, on Imperial Avenue and Ledge Meadow, he said.  

The Fairfield County Hazardous Materials Incident Response Team was called to the scene along with the propane dealer to assist with stopping the leak and removing the propane.

But the leak could not be stopped because the valve was damaged after being hit by the construction vehicle, Kronick said.

The response team and propane dealer burned off the propane to empty the tank to mitigate the hazard. The operation to secure and burn off the propane took about four hours.

The Fairfield Fire Department provided an engine to cover the Town of Westport during the incident. The Southport Fire Department provided a truck that assisted with lighting up the scene after dark.

The Milford Fire Department provided a canteen unit to provide drinks and food to those working at the incident.

A total of 30 firefighters and officers responded to this incident. The last fire department units cleared the scene at 10:51 p.m.

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