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Underground propane leak prompts Lebanon evacuation

A 1,000 gallon underground propane tank burst a leak off Bank Street in Lebanon Saturday night, triggering a general alarm for the town fire department and the evacuation of two nearby apartment buildings.

Firefighters responded at about 8:30 p.m. after getting a report that a loud pop was followed by a hissing sound and the smell of gas. Crews found that a leak had developed in the area of the valve assembly cover, but the valve area of the tank was encased in ice.

The general alarm was sounded to bring additional crews and equipment and two nearby apartment buildings were evacuated; the residents were given temporary shelter at a nearby firehouse.

Irving Propane crews initially could not find the source of the leak or start repairs until after Lebanon Public Works crews arrived with a steam culvert thawing unit to clear the ice from the area of the valve. Once the ice was melted, an Irving worker tightened the valve.

Officials said it appeared that expanding ice in the valve pit forced the main fill valve open, allowing gas to escape.

No injuries or property damage was reported and residents returned to their apartments at about 11:30 p.m.


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