Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Burning California rail car full of liquid propane at risk of exploding

The rail car filled with liquid propane that has been burning since Tuesday in northern California is now at a greater risk of exploding, officials and emergency crews reported according to radio station KCRA.

The 110-litre tank is at the Northern Propane Energy yard in Lincoln, a city of 40,000 people. All buildings in a 1.6-kilometre radius were evacuated Wednesday morning, California Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant told KRCA radio.

Firefighters are trying to keep the temperature of the tank down by setting up hoses to drench it. The process is necessary as attempting to directly extinguish flames shooting into the air from a vent could create a propane gas cloud that would ignite into a fireball, Berlant said.

"Our fear is that not only does that rail car tank explode, but so do the tanks around it and with about a half million gallons of propane in that field," he told KXTV-TV. source