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LINCOLN, CA. — A burning 29,000-gallon Union Pacific railroad tanker that was leaking propane at a Northern Propane Energy yard in Lincoln, California, caught fire on Tuesday afternoon Aug. 23. The incident forced thousands of homes in the area to be evacuated while firefighters fought the flames in order to prevent a possible explosion.

Burning Union Pacific propane tanker ablaze in Lincoln, CA that began on August 23, 2011 and lasted for 40 hours. The fire caused thousands of residents to evacuate their homes and threatened to blow up.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant told the media that a propane yard worker who was tending to the tanker was hurt and transported to a local hospital, although no details on the extent of the injuries were available.


The Sacramento Bee reports:

About 4,800 homes lie within the mandatory evacuation area — designated as within one mile of the rail car — and the American Red Cross has set up three evacuation centers in Lincoln, a city of 40,000 north of Sacramento.

Firefighters set up four fixed hoses to soak the tanker and to keep down its temperature while the propane burns off, a process that could take until Wednesday, officials said. Trying to directly extinguish the flames shooting into the air from a vent could create a propane gas cloud that could ignite into a fireball, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

Highway 65, a major commuter thoroughfare between Sacramento and Lincoln, was closed near the blaze, the California Highway Patrol said. Authorities didn’t know when the road would reopen.

The fire began in on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 around midday when a propane yard worker was examining the tanker car on the railroad tracks.

The injured worker was a district manager from Montana for Heritage Propane, the parent company of Northern Energy Propane.

The fire threatened thousands of homes in the area. Firefighters were worried that the tanker would BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion). Alert firefighters noticed that the rail car springs were not sagging as much as a fully loaded tanker and they also noticed that the flames coming out of the top of the tanker were not as energetic as expected so they determined that the tanker was empty or nearly empty. The flames would have been much larger had the tanker contained more propane.

The situation was, nevertheless, extremely serious and could have cratered the town of Lincoln.


Map showing location of buring propane tanker car that started on August 23, 2011 in a propane yard owned by Northern Propane Energy in Lincoln, CA near 9th and I Street in downtown, Lincoln.


Burn injury statistics from the National Institute of Health report that more than 2 million people in the United States require treatment for burns each year, and that between 3,000 and 4,000 die of their injuries. Statistics in 2004 from the Center for Disease Control reported that every 135 minutes one person was killed by a fire accident and every 30 minutes, one person suffered a fire-related injury.

Victims of severe burn injuries find their lives changed forever and continue to suffer beyond the intial trauma due to intense pain and psychological stress in dealing with physical disabilities and disfigurations.

Related searches:

Sacramento Burn Injury Lawyer
San Francisco Burn Injury Lawyer
San Jose Burn Injury Lawyer
Oakland Burn Injury Lawyer

FELA Lawyer News Blog is a FELA, train accident and personal injury blog that publishes up to date train accidents and FELA legal news from across the United States. The Federal Employers ‘Liability Act, (FELA) allows injured railroad workers to recover compensation based on the negligence of the railroad company, in lieu of workers’ compensation. FELA defines negligence as the railroad company’s failure to use reasonable care

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