Gas Leak Closes 6th Street; Traffic Snarled
Sixth Street traffic backed up Monday when the Department of Public Safety responded at 11:22 a.m. to 700 Southwest 6th to the report of liquefied petroleum gas.
Fire crews arrived to find a Ford pick-up truck with a leaking thirty gallon propane cylinder in the truck bed. An assessment was conducted by firefighters wearing self-contained breathing apparatus who determined the cylinder was not leaking from the valve but from the bottom of the cylinder. The leak consisted of liquefied petroleum gas which filled the lined truck bed to a depth of two inches. The cylinder had been filled earlier in the morning.
Crews evacuated the surrounding businesses and closed off SW 6th street between “L” and “M” for about two and a half hours while the situation was mitigated. Representatives from Universal Propane and Suburban Propane provided assistance with removing the hazard. Suburban Propane ultimately transferred the product from the leaking container into another cylinder for disposal.
LPG is a heavier than air, highly flammable gas that is quite safe when stored and used properly. In this case the cylinder was out of date and severely rusted. Additionally, the cylinder was lying on its side rather than in the upright position for which it was designed. LPG expands in volume 270 times from liquid to ambient pressure vapor.
A total of three engines responded to the scene along with Grants Pass Police and the Oregon Department of Transportation. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.