OLDS — Sixteen firefighters responded to a propane leak that occurred at the Westview Co-op gas station in Olds Monday evening.
The adjacent grocery store was evacuated but there were no injuries, and “normal business operations resumed,” Olds Fire Department Chief Justin Andrew wrote in an email to the Albertan's query today.
Fire crews were called to the scene at 6:21 p.m. on Oct. 3 and responded with five apparatus, including two pumpers, a rescue truck and two command vehicles. They remained on-scene for about 45 minutes.
RCMP and ambulance personnel also responded and helped control the perimeter of the scene.
“Upon arrival crews found that the emergency shut-down had not activated properly when a propane cylinder was being filled, which led to product being released in large quantity from the main propane bullet," Andrew wrote.
“Fire crews quickly established a safety perimeter around the area to limit travel and potential ignition sources and evacuated the food store as a precaution for a short time.”
Andrew said firefighters used high-pressure water streams to redirect the propane cloud and push it away from the building and gas pumps.
That also allowed them to get in close enough to manually close the main supply valve under the tank.
All that occurred in less than five minutes from the time fire crews arrived on-scene.
Once the cloud had dissipated, all staff and customers were allowed to return safely.
“This type of incident is rare, but our firefighters are well trained in the process to manage this type of incident, due in large part to the fact that Olds Fire (Department) has a live fire pressurized propane training system at the fire training facility where this exact type of scenario has been rehearsed by all members of the department,” Andrew wrote.