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Residents leave after Franklinton propane spill

Posted May 13, 2010

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— A spill from a 500-gallon propane tank caused emergency authorities to shut down a stretch of U.S. Highway 1 in Franklinton for several hours Thursday morning and evacuate homes and businesses.

Mayor Elic Senter said the spill happened around 10 a.m. at McCracken Propane & Oil, when workers were transferring liquid propane.

Homes evacuated near propane spill Homes evacuated near propane spill

Bob Leene, the branch manager of propane company, said workers might have damaged a valve while digging up the tank at another location to transfer it to the Franklinton site. The tank was 30 percent full at the time.

The liquid spilled, and vapors were released, prompting fire and sheriff's officials to evacuate about six homes near 3176 U.S. Highway 1, as well as a motel and several businesses, Senter said.

There were no fires and no reports of injuries.

"It's very unfortunate, you know. It causes disruption, but if something like this has to happen, at least there was no loss of life, no injury," Senter said.

The spill forced authorities to close both northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. 1 from Pocomoke Road to U.S. 1A (Main Street) and Green Street to U.S. 1. for several hours while crews cleaned the area. The roadway reopened shortly after 2 p.m.

The town also opened a shelter at the Franklinton Town Hall Annex on Mason Street for those displaced by the spill.

Hazmat crews determined the propane fumes were not widespread or at dangerous levels.

8 Comments

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  • bamalfinn28 May 13, 2010

    I THINK THAT THE McCRACKEN PROPANE WORKERS DID AN AWSOME JOB CONTROLING THE AREA.THEY TOOK CARE OF THE MATTER BEFORE IT GOT REALY BAD!! THEY SHOULD BE COMENDED FOR THAT!!!THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!AFTER ALL YOU DO KEEP US WARM!!!

  • Adelinthe May 13, 2010

    Propane is found in two forms, liquid and vapor. The liquid boils at a very low temperature, I think 40 degrees, and produces the vapor.

    Liquid spillage of propane is relatively easy to contain, the vapor is not, and because propane vapor is HEAVIER than air, it moves and settles into low areas, and those low areas are where the hazard lies.

    So any creeks and streams, gullies, etc. away from the McCracken site can still be volatile until they bring in special equipment to suck the vapor up and to measure areas to assure they got it all.

    Wouldn't want to be living there for the next few days, cause wind rarely disperses it, seeing it's heavier than air.

    Praying for everyone out there, especially the emergency and cleanup workers.

    God bless.

    RB

  • phoenixelon99 May 13, 2010

    The entire 500 gallons didn't spill...the spill was minor...the tank could hold 500 gallons, but a small amount went out...the rest was vapors and didn't get very far...

  • SouthernBornSouthernBred May 13, 2010

    Not a lot of real danger Really? 400 gallons of propane that could catch on fire is a BIG danger especially with 2 schools close by.

  • kaizenb74 May 13, 2010

    There is no other fuels at that location other than propane. McCracken Propane stopped selling distillates almost 10 years ago. Also, a 500 gallon tank as a general rule, only holds 400 gallons(WHICH IS 80%)when filled allowing for expansion. This situation is important, however there is no a lot of real danger involved.

    Ben

  • Firegal May 13, 2010

    jim you are correct, its at the McCracken distribution facilty. Could be a big mess...

  • jag53 May 13, 2010

    There is a propane/fuel oil distributor at that location. While the leak is in a reported 500 gallon tank, suspect there is a lot more fuel at that location. Hate to think of it getting into the antiquated sewer infrastructure in town...

  • Adelinthe May 13, 2010

    500 gallons isn't much propane, BUT propane is heavier than air and sinks into lower levels of elevation. Therefore, it would all sink into those areas and could become combustible, and 500 gallons of anything inflammable breaking into fire is a very dangerous thing.

    God bless.

    RB