PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A propane tank caught fire Tuesday morning as a delivery truck driver from Daigle Oil Co. was refilling it outside a residence on the Quoggy Jo Lake Road. No one was injured.
According to Presque Isle Deputy Fire Chief Rich Wark, the incident took place at approximately 8:30 a.m. The Presque Isle Fire Department was dispatched to the scene after a caller reported that he was the driver of the delivery truck and had been filling a tank outside a residence when fire erupted and engulfed the top of the tank. The driver also reported that he was having chest pain.
Presque Isle Police Department and Crown Ambulance responded.
When crews arrived they found the driver lying in the road and in distress. He told the crew he had been able to put the fire out but the tank was still leaking and the delivery hose was still attached. A firefighter who is a licensed paramedic attended to the driver while waiting for the ambulance to arrive while the rest of the crew secured the scene
The owner of the residence said that he had heard a loud bang outside, and when he ran out to investigate he found the driver on his back in the snow bank and the top of his propane tank on fire. He quickly grabbed his fire extinguisher and then the one off the delivery truck, which the driver used to finally put the fire out. The delivery truck is equipped with a remote safety switch that the driver was able to trip and shut the delivery system down. The vapor that leaked after was from the storage tank, not the delivery truck, according to Wark.
Fire crews were able to disconnect the delivery line and isolate the leaking vapor. The wind coming off the lake helped to dissipate the vapor so it wasn’t a hazard. A hazardous materials technician from the Department of Environmental Protection arrived and monitored the air with a meter to ensure the level of propane was not explosive. All readings were within normal limits so technicians from the delivery company were allowed in to fix the tank and secure the truck.
The incident is still under investigation to determine the cause of the ignition and subsequent leak. Officials estimate that approximately 25 to 30 gallons of propane were lost into the air from the fire and leak. There were no other injuries and no damage to the residence.