A sailor reported smelling gas early yesterday morning, prompting the evacuation of Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi. Gas tanks located just outside the walls of the base were discovered to have a leak caused by blown valves. Corpus Christi firefighters and workers from the Gas Division responded to the leak; an all-clear was sounded by 11.
No one was hurt in the gas leak, thanks at least in part to the quick-thinking sailor who noticed and properly identified the smell of gas before an explosion resulted.
A 10,000 gallon propane tank was the culprit in the Corpus Christi gas leak. While Gas Division crews were onsite preparing the blown valve, another valve on a nearby tank also began to leak. The second leaky valve was also repaired without incident.
Propane is often considered a safer alternative to other gases. It has a low flammability rating relative to other forms of alternative energy and requires extremely high temperatures before it will burst into flames.
Although it is typically stored in its more compact liquid form, propane becomes a gas when released. It will not form puddles on the ground nor contaminate the soil beneath it unlike with leaks of other types of oil and gas.
If you smell rotten eggs that cannot be attributed to eggs themselves, chances are you discovered a gas leak. If you notice the smell of rotten eggs, you should:
- Notify the local gas company
- Extinguish any open flames
- Evacuate the area
- Avoid touching any appliances suspected as being the source of the gas leak
Propane is heavier than air; when it leaks, it will settle to the lowest available point. In case of a gas leak in your home, pooled gas may settle in the basement, if you have one. In case of a gas leak outdoors, propane will pool near the lowest spot on the ground near the source of the leak.
Source: KIIITV, “Gas Leak Prompts Evacuation at NAS-Corpus Christi,” June 20, 2013