(Update: Details of leak stopped, residents return home)
It fell on side with valves, so it took four hours to stop leak; power cut off, propane levels monitored
TERREBONNE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A propane delivery truck slid off an embankment and rolled onto its side next to a home in a Terrebonne cul-de-sac late Monday morning. A resulting propane leak prompted evacuation of 15 homes and a power shutoff until it was stopped four hours later, an official said.
Redmond Fire & Rescue was called to the 100 block of Central Avenue about 11:30 a.m., Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Puller said.
The driver was uninjured, but the Ed Staub & Sons propane truck had rolled onto the side where the truck’s valves are located, making for a lengthier process to stop the leak, Puller said.
Pacific Power crews were called out to turn off the power and reduce the risk of an explosion, he said. Deschutes County Public Works also assisted at the scene.
Propane is heavier than air, so unlike natural gas, it doesn’t rise into the atmosphere, but instead can go into low-lying areas such as crawlspaces and build up, Puller said.
Puller said they reached out to the regional hazardous material team in Salem for guidance as they monitored and assessed the leak.
Puller said Ed Staub employees stopped the leak at 3:45 p.m. and the truck was back on its wheels and set up for propane transfer about an hour later. Power was restored to the homes and the evacuation orders lifted around 5 p.m., he said. Homeowners signed up for Deschutes County emergency alerts were contacted to be advised the evacuation was lifted.
After the leak was stopped, fire crews needed to go in and check homes with gas monitors to be cleared and ensure no propane has accumulated before power is restored. Otherwise, he said, if a water heater’s pilot light were to ignite, for example, an explosion could result.
On a very cold day, evacuated residents stayed with friends or family. Puller said officials were concerned for a time the American Red Cross might need to put up the evacuees up at a motel overnight, but the situation was resolved instead.