Firefighters burn off propane after Longfellow Ave. leak

Hazmat technicians burn off propane with a flare tower on Longfellow Avenue Monday, Jan. 13. (Firefighter Corey Gripp Photo)

Hazmat technicians burn off propane with a flare tower on Longfellow Avenue Monday, Jan. 13. (Firefighter Corey Gripp Photo)

Firefighters burned away a threat after a propane leak was found Monday, Jan. 13.

An employee of Southern Connecticut Gas Company reported a leaking 100-pound propane gas tank in the rear yard of a Longfellow Avenue residence at 4:28 p.m. The employee reported positive gas readings 10 feet away from the tank.

The Fairfield Fire Department responded within minutes with three engines, one ladder company and the shift commander.

Engine 2, arrived on scene, under the command of Lt. Joseph Swindon, and investigated the leak using combustible gas meter.  Ladder 2 personnel checked the basement of the dwelling for combustible gas. Engine 3 responded with the hazardous materials trailer.

Firefighters from Engine 2 determined the propane tank was full, and the bottom of the tank was leaking due to poor condition and rust.

Firefighters monitored the surrounding area and determined that the concentration was not an immediate explosion hazard to area residences, if the Fire Department could safely burn off the propane gas and relieve the remaining pressure.

After stretching hoses to prevent any fire, firefighters conducted a controlled burn in the middle of Castle Avenue under the direction of Hazmat technicians Lt. Philip Higgins and firefigher Joseph Galla. Fairfield Police secured the scene and redirected traffic away from the affected area.

With equipment recently purchased, Hazmat technicians on scene were able to burn off the propane, rendering the tank safe, using a device call a “flare tower.”

“If property owners suspect that a propane tank may be in poor condition they should contact their propane supplier, and have them perform an inspection of the tank,” Asst. Chief Erik Kalapir said. “Whenever a resident smells an odor of gas, he or she should call 911.”

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