Close call with burning propane tank - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Close call with burning propane tank

(WLBT) - It's summertime and prime time to grill outside. That's exactly what a Pearl couple was doing when their propane tank caught on fire.

Fire officials said it was a close call. One that could have resulted in death and a lot of property damage. We have the pictures from this ordeal.

Mickey Anderson was preparing to grill dinner one summer evening. He fired up the grill,  stepped inside the house to get the food and then BOOM!

"I looked back out and I saw the flames going up and out away from the butane tank and I knew I had to do something quickly," Anderson said.

The steel propane tank was on fire. A frightening situation.

WLBT's Marsha Thompson asked Anderson, "What was going through your mind?"

"Please don't let this think explode because I knew that it was a new tank and I knew I was in danger," he replied.

There was little Anderson could do to douse the flame. So, he called 9-1-1 to let the experts handle it.

Firefighters were dealing with a potential time bomb.

"They assessed the situation, very rapidly realized that they had a dangerous situation," said Brad Thornton, Assistant Chief for the Pearl Fire Department.

For a full hour and a half, firemen watered down the tank.

Thornton said, "They grabbed it, ran about 30 feet out in the yard, placed it in an isolated area and they applied water to the container to keep it cool."

Anderson's grill was destroyed. The tank was burned. It could have been much worse since propane gas is highly flammable and seeks out an ignition source.

Thornton stressed, "It could cause major damage to a structure nearby. It could create loss of life."

While this scenario is rare, fire officials say always check your valves, hoses and regulators that could become worn over the years. Make sure the valve is closed after every use.

Mickey Anderson said the source of the problem was not identified. His grill was replaced by the propane manufacturer.

Experts say, always read instructions provided on propane tanks during use. Do not store tanks in your home or garage.  And when you grill, move the entire grill away from your house.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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