The technical skill and specialized training of Fairfield firefighters led to the quick and safe resolution Friday of a propane leak on High Street.
Firefighters were called to a house under construction at 797 High St. at 11:09 a.m. on March 7, on report of a 100-pound propane tank leaking. The sound of the leak was audible outside and gas inside had risen to "significant," potentially dangerous levels.
High Street was immediately closed in the area of the leak and firefighters made contact with contractor to make sure everyone was out of the house. Utilizing special gas detection meters, firefighters determined that evacuations of nearby homes, and a school — Holland Hill — were not necessary.
The valve on the tank was damaged and could not be turned off, according to the fire department.
Therefore, members of the Fairfield Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials team used a "flare tower" to perform a controlled burn of the remaining gas in the tank. It took approximately 15 minutes to burn off the liquid propane.
“Using the propane flare tower, our HAZMAT technicians were able to quickly set up and burn off the flammable gas before the propane company even arrived on scene," Assistant Chief Scott Bisson said. "This higher level of service provided by the Fairfield Fire Department HAZMAT team minimized the risk to area residents from the leaking tank, reduced the need to evacuate the surrounding buildings, including a school, and allowed the streets to be reopened in approximately one hour.”
The last fire unit left the scene at 12:26 p.m. Bisson said the Fairfield Fire Marshal’s office is reviewing the incident to ensure all local regulations were being followed by the propane company and contractor.