The Dangers of Propane

Miller Injury Attorneys is currently representing a client who was severely burned when the propane tank used to heat his residence leaked gas into his home and caused a fire.

The propane tank was filled at a local hardware store by an employee who failed to use the overflow relief valve while filling the tank. As a result of this error, the tank was overfilled with propane.

Our client, unaware that the tank had been overfilled, then proceeded to hook up the propane tank to his residence, as he had done for at least 15 years without prior incident. Since the liquid propane used to fill the tank was extremely cold (it is stored and transported that way), when the sun heated the tank, the propane within the overfilled tank began to expand. This expansion of propane within the tank triggered an automatic release valve/mechanism on the tank, causing outgassing of the propane which then made its way into the residence while our client slept. The gas that accumulated within the residence was eventually ignited by the pilot light from the heater, causing a massive flashover fire, ceiling to floor and wall-to-wall, within the residence.

Upon awakening to the fire, our client covered himself in his bedding, rolled to the floor, and crawled to the exit of the home. While he was lucky to escape with his life, our client sustained burns on approximately 27% of his body. He was life-flighted by helicopter to a local trauma center, where he remained in intensive care for nearly two weeks. Thereafter, he spent approximately one month in a post-hospital recovery center.

Miller Injury Attorneys will be pursuing legal action against the local hardware store based on the acts and omissions of its employee in improperly overfilling the propane tank. The firm will be seeking maximum compensation for our client’s suffering of severe burn injuries necessitating numerous and painful skin grafts and resulting in permanent scarring and disfigurement.

Propane gas can be very dangerous if it leaks. If you smell gas, you should immediately do the following:

  • Immediately put out all open flames and smoking materials
  • Do not operate any electronic devices, lights, telephones, or cell phones
  • Immediately get everyone out of the building
  • If safe to do so, turn off the main gas supply valve on the propane tank
  • Report the leak to your propane retailer or dial 911 or your local fire department (do this in an area away from the building)
  • Do not return to the building until your propane retailer, a service technician, or an emergency responder deems it is safe to do so
  • Have your system checked before you attempt to use the system again

To get in touch with a Sacramento personal injury attorney at our firm, please call (916) 525-7761 or fill out an online contact form.