OT Warning -- How many have propane tanks in the garage?

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A few days ago a home exploded not far from where I live.
I just read the result of the investigations into that incident:
FREMONT — A 65-year-old Fremont man remained in a San Jose hospital Monday after suffering second-degree burns to his face and arms when his family's Warm Springs home exploded and burned over the weekend.
As Charles Stacker Sr. lay sedated in an intensive care unit at Valley Medical Center, Fremont fire investigators — with the help of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — determined that the Saturday night explosion was caused by an unlikely ignition source — static electricity from Stacker's body.
According to investigators, a leaking propane tank had filled the garage of the Stacker home on Camphor Avenue with gas that was ignited when Stacker entered the garage to check on a hissing noise.
http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_12185896
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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On Apr 22, 12:51 pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

And houses explode from gas leaks, bad wiring can cause a fire, and you can get hit by a car crossing the street. I keep my tank in the house. It must of been a crapy old rusted tank to leak.
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Yup, shit happens.

Probably not wise. Many fire marshals suggest that BBQ propane tanks be stored outside, preferably on a concrete slab, away from ignition sources and combustible materials.
Most places that sell tanks and refills seem to do the same, with a locked (and grounded) cage for protection. I assume that's required by one or more regulations.

It might have been the valve or hose -- they typically fail before the tank casing. Or maybe it was stored in a damp area resulting in accelerated corrosion.
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ransley wrote:

Souns like you are a fool as well.
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Nope...could easily be a valve that failed...happens all the time.
Or the temperature rises and they vent.
I have known of two houses that have exploded because of propane tanks..both new ones recently purchased.
Propane is heavier than air and will pool in the lower areas.
Any ignition source....*BOOM*.
Anyone who keeps a propane tank inside is a fool.
TMT
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Gary Player. |

Nope...could easily be a valve that failed...happens all the time.
Or the temperature rises and they vent.
I have known of two houses that have exploded because of propane tanks..both new ones recently purchased.
Propane is heavier than air and will pool in the lower areas.
Any ignition source....*BOOM*.
Anyone who keeps a propane tank inside is a fool.
TMT
This can't ever happen to me because the government made me buy all new tanks with Overfill Protection Valves. Nothing can go wrong now.
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on 4/22/2009 1:51 PM (ET) Malcolm Hoar wrote the following:

None in my house. The propane tanks stay hooked up to my barbecue grill in the yard, or stored in the cabinet under the grill. That is all year round, including hot Summers and below freezing Winters. I take out the tank stored under the grill when using the grill to prevent overheating from the lit grill. No fuel is stored anywhere in my house, including the garage, which is too full to get a car in there.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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How about your camp gear? Lantern? Stove? I had an almost full quart butane canister leak down after I removed it from the lantern. Then there are the hand torch small tanks that could do the same. I never have had one of those leak though.
Harry K
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on 4/23/2009 9:34 AM (ET) harry k wrote the following:

fueled up snow blower equipped tractor in my attached garage in the Winter, only because I can't keep it in the unheated detached shed. The throttle and choke cables freeze up and it can't be started. I have to push it out into the snow and try to warm up the cables with a small propane torch, which, by the way, is also kept in the attached garage all year.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Out of interest, I briefly perused a number of propane storage recommendations. Quantities of 1 pound and less are not really viewed a significant hazard, in the house or garage.
There's no doubt that the 20 and 40 pound cylinders should be stored outside.
The small propane (or butane) torches, camping stoves etc. are probably quite safe PROVIDED they're checked from time to time and in sound condition.
I did also audit my garage for other hazards -- a useful exercise I think. I found:
* Mineral spirits (metal can) * Denatured alcohol (metal can) * Insecticdes
The quantities are not sufficient to represent a signifant risk I think. All are stored on high shelves since I have kids and don't want them messing with those items.
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On Apr 23, 7:43 am, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Hmmm...brings up a thought. My garage is loaded with various substances in 'rattle' cans. Not dangerous if they leak but highly dangerous if in the middle of a fire. I wonder if fire fighters automatically assume that there will be spray cans in house/garage/ shop fires. I used to toss them into my burn barrel but one incident of finding the blown out top 'frizbee' laying where I was mowing 100 ft away from the barrel cured me of that. Then the state banned burn barrels sso...
Harry K
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I'm sure most veteran firefighters have seen exploding cans of spray paint, solvents etc. many, many times. Yep, I thinks it's a sure bet that most firefighters are fully aware of the issues with garages. Just standard operating procedure.
Fortunately, the kinds of quantities stored in domestic garages are insufficent to present a huge danger. Their normal operational dress is likely sufficient to protect them from those relatively small explosions.
Of course, industrial premises store MUCH larger and more hazardous quantities. But there's a host of codes, regulations and procedures to provide additional safety.
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On Thu, 23 Apr 2009 06:34:41 -0700 (PDT), harry k

empty.
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re: "I take out the tank stored under the grill when using the grill to prevent overheating from the lit grill."
I can't recall ever owning a grill that wasn't *designed* to have the tank stored under the grill when in use. They've all had bases and clamps to hold the tank in place. With my current grill the hose is so short you have to mount the tank first before you can attached the regulator.
If overheating was an issue, I don't think they would have designed them like that.
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On Wed, 22 Apr 2009 17:51:21 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

My bet, arc from the light switch. Most fire codes these days say propane tanks have to be 10' from the house, even if they are buried
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Or he hit the remote or pushbutton which started the door operator.
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On Wed, 22 Apr 2009 15:08:02 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The NFPA calls for 10' for tanks over 125gallons [and under 2001gallons]. My 100gallon tank is adjacent to the house and meets all codes.
http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNumX
Jim
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Heck, it should be "ESPECIALLY" if they are buried. Gas has a funny way of traveling underground and entering basements.

I'm not sure just how big a 125 gallon tank is but I suspect it's the one that's about 5' high and a little more that 3' in diameter. I have seen BANKS of them put right outside of restaurants and two put next to a home.
Maybe they use the BANKS just so they can keep them closer in. Once the fuel truck comes in it's only a little more trouble to fill several tanks one after the other.

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I think these were small (20 pound?) BBQ tanks.
I don't believe those codes would apply here although I suspect there are various regulations applicable to the sale and transport of even small tanks.
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On Apr 22, 7:22 pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Actually, I would bet that many states have fire code laws that prohibit the storage of propane tanks inside a home garage. They are probably not widely followed or enforced though.

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