Local News

Residents leave after Franklinton propane spill

Posted May 13, 2010 10:34 a.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2010 9:13 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.