Safety Tips: Avoiding a Propane Gas Explosion

Safety Tips: Avoiding a Propane Gas Explosion

A propane gas tank near a fire caused an explosion in Odessa. Fire officials give tips on how to avoid a dangerous situation.
Odessa, TX (Big 2 News) - Odessa resident, E.J. Navarrete, woke up Thursday to clean up a massive mess, left by a fire in his property.

He was home with his wife Wednesday when neighbors knocked on his door to tell him there was a fire right outside of his house.
Moments later, they heard an explosion.

Navarrete kept a 20-gallon propane gas tank next to his storage home, the cause of Wednesday’s explosion.

Fire officials in the city recommend residents keep propane gas far from homes to avoid a dangerous situation.

“You don't want to keep them near the house; you want to keep them outside. In buildings, garages that are separate from a house,” said Capt. Jason Cotton from the City of Odessa - Fire and Rescue. “You never want to keep it in a house.”

Capt. Cotton said the firefighters could have been in great danger if the explosion had occurred while they were putting out the fire.

In addition to keeping propane gas away from the house, Capt. Cotton said a tank should always be stored on the floor.

“You don't want to keep it on high shelves because if they fall off the valve gets broken and it's just a projectile,” Capt. Cotton said. “A deadly projectile.”

Navarrete had been storing his propane tank for more than 40 years. He said the last time he used the tank was in the early 70s.

“It was worse if it was empty because I never use it for maybe about 40 years,” Navarrete said.

But Capt. Cotton said that was another big mistake.

“They need to be tested and if you don't have them tested, don't keep them for long periods of time,” he said.

The cause of Wednesday’s fire is still unknown. But Capt. Cotton said that having the propane tank explosion made the fire a lot more dangerous.

“It made it a whole lot worse,” Capt. Cotton said. “There was from the embers flying around, burning embers that were flying around they were putting spot fires out on other residences.”

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