We have serious safety issues in our neighborhood

There is a three-sided enclosure with the prevailing winds blowing into the open end. It contains a 1,000-gallon propane tank, which is a significant hazard if it leaks. That is likely to happen during a magnitude 8-plus earthquake. There is no code to secure them. They are top heavy sitting on top the ground. Their safety devices are prone to failure when out of position.

Propane, a petroleum product, is heavier than air collecting in low areas and where dissipation is blocked by barriers. Natural gas is much safer as it dissipates into the atmosphere.

Last month a fireman was killed in Farmington, Maine, investigating a propane leak. In 1999, three boys were killed in Bellingham because the fumes from a pipeline leak collected in a creek bed. The city of Auburn says this is not a code violation. The site was modified creating the trap the year after the initial tank approval. That should require a new permit and evaluation.

The characteristics of petroleum have been well known for well over a century. It responds predictably in most circumstances. The facts I have presented are easily verified, they are not merely my opinions. South King Fire & Rescue is our emergency response team under mutual aid. When I brought this to their attention, Gordon Goodsell, deputy chief and fire marshal, thanked me for my concern for the safety of their personnel and installed a dispatch alert on the address warn them en route.

Emergency responders are advised to stay 150 yards away from the tank in an emergency. There are 19 homes, approximately 50 people, including 17 children, residing in that radius. The preferred emergency evacuation radius is over one-half mile.

The fix is so simple. Move the tank about 75 feet to where the leak will dissipate downhill. Everybody will be safe.

Are you willing to take this issue to the mayor and council for correction?

– Bob Zimmerman


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