Propane leak spurs evacuation

North Lincoln Fire & Rescue used a drone to get closer to a propane leak in Lincoln City. The gas leaked from a tank being moved by an excavator. (Courtesy photo)

A portion of Southeast 23 Street in Lincoln City was cleared by authorities Tuesday morning following a propane leak.

North Lincoln Fire & Rescue was dispatched at 9:24 a.m. to 2560 SE 23rd St. for the leak. The business owners were reinstalling a large propane tank with a crane when the bottom of the tank struck part of the support structure, shearing off the valve, which caused the leak. This large tank could hold up to 4,000 gallons of liquid propane but during the move it was only holding an estimated 200 gallons.

NLFR responded with two engines, one light rescue, and Heavy Rescue 39, which is equipped with the district hazardous materials equipment to handle emergencies of this nature.  Assistance was requested from Depoe Bay Fire, Lincoln City Police and Pacific West Ambulance. The propane tank company also responded to assist if needed. Command on-scene determined an evacuation area approximately ½ mile in all directions and requested Pacific Power to respond to the scene to turn off power to the area.

Lincoln City Police was requested to hold traffic at Hwy. 101 and SE 23rd St. as evacuations continued.  Further assessment was made of the situation with assistance by phone from Salem Fire Department Regional Haz-Mat Team.

Depoe Bay Fire assisted on scene and both North Lincoln Fire & Rescue and Depoe Bay Fire deployed drones at different times, providing a bird’s eye view of the event.

It was determined, after consultation with the Regional Haz Mat Team, that allowing the propane to vent into the air was the safest and only option. Air quality monitoring around the perimeter of the scene was done. After no further venting was visible from the tank by the drone, the perimeter was reduced to the immediate area of the property. Two members of North Lincoln Fire and Rescue in protective protection equipment, SCBAs, and equipped gas monitors entered the area near the tank and deemed it safe.  The street area was reopened at 11:04 a.m.

On-scene contractors and crews acted appropriately, quickly notifying 911 and safely evacuated the area until fire crews arrived. The incident was handled by trained firefighters using tools and technology recently acquired by the district.

— North Lincoln Fire & Rescue

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