Heavy Snow on Propane Tanks Poses Danger

Propane Gas Tank
With winter upon us, homeowners and businesses with propane tanks should take care removing heavy snow, which can pose a fire and explosion risk, according to safety officials.  The warning comes too late for the owners of a vacation rental in Bend. Oregon, whose garage exploded on Sunday after heavy snow removed from the roof of the garage broke a propane pipe.

The one-inch propane pipe was connected to a meter on the wall of the garage. After the weight of snow broke the pipe, the garage filled with propane and an as yet undetermined source ignited the gas triggering an explosion. Firefighters put out the blaze, no one was injured.

Propane associations and fire officials recommend the following safety tips for propane tanks in areas with heavy snowfalls:

  • Don’t use a shovel to get snow off of a tank because it could break the regulator, a valve, or piping;
  • Use a broom to gently clear off the snow, taking extra care around the piping, gauges, tubing, etc.;
  • Don’t toss snow from the roof, driveway or walkway onto the tank;
  • Take particular care to make sure regulator vents are free of snow, ice or water that could freeze;
  • If you think a regulator vent is clogged with ice or snow, contact your propane supplier immediately;
  • Remove snow and ice from gas appliance exhausts, including clothes dryer vents;
  • Before a heavy snow, cover the regulator, relief valves, and fill valves with a protective cap to keep out snow and ice; and
  • Mark your tank using a snow stake, or with reliable flagging, before a heavy snowfall.



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Category: Explosion, Fire and Burn Injuries
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