On July 1, 2014, the streets of Philadelphia were shaken by a massive explosion when a propane tank ruptured and the flammable gas inside was ignited. flames shot over 200 feet in the air and engulfed the North Philly neighborhood in fire. Tragically, two lives were lost and ten other individuals suffered horrible burns.
In the wake of this catastrophe, our firm played an integral role in the investigation into what caused this rupture and explosion. What we discovered was shocking. The tank that ruptured was manufactured in 1948. According to the federal regulations that govern the use of propane, it was required to be inspected at least once every seven years. In this case, that tank was never once inspected.
Further, federal regulations and the national code require that certain propane tanks must be equipped with a pressure relief valve also known as a spitter or bleeder valve. As temperatures rise on a hot summer day, the propane gas expands inside the cylinder increasing the pressure. If the correct valve is on the cylinder, it will “spit” out a small amount of gas to regulate the pressure. If your tank has the wrong valve, there is nothing to prevent the tank from blowing apart due to the building pressure.
Once again summer is upon us and every weekend thousands of Americans enjoy grilling outside and having cookouts across our country. No one expects a propane tank to suddenly rupture and turn a summer gathering into a nightmare. Propane dispensers are obligated to check the inspection date of and type of valve of on your cylinder. Unfortunately, not all propane dispensers follow the rules.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a propane tank explosion or any other fire related accident, contact our team of experienced attorneys who represented the most seriously injured in the Philadelphia Food Truck Explosion. We will work to hold the ones responsible that failed to comply with federal law, safety codes, and most importantly needlessly endangered you and your family.