With fall now coming to a close, many families are seeking to winterize their homes. This can include preparing outdoor heating units or propane tanks for the upcoming cold months. There is often a risk that moving, storing, or relocating propane tanks for the long winter can be fatally harmful, especially when a propane tank has been sitting for quite some time may have a leak.
The use of natural gas and propane tanks is widespread in the United States, and in many rural parts of West Virginia, where “natural gas and propane (LP gas) are used in a wide range of industrial and domestic applications; therefore they have the potential to cause natural gas explosions in the workplace and in the home [and] a gas leak from a valve, pipeline, gas or propane tank can often be traced to negligence due to a number of factors, from manufacture and design to installation and inspection to maintenance and repair.”
There are a number of substantive ways in which propane tanks can malfunction, be faulty or defective, or otherwise lead to a situation which pose an increased risk of harm or danger to those who may use them, including:
- Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE), which occurs “when the pressure in the tank exceeds that at which the safety relief valve can safely vent the excess pressure into the outside atmosphere [and] relief valves are designed to vent tank pressure at a certain flow rate to the outside atmosphere once the pressure inside the propane tank reaches a certain level and will close once the pressure in the tank falls below that level.”
- Propane BLEVE which is when “the container is subject to extreme heat, such as in a fire [and] while the tank is being heated, the liquid propane inside is being heated causing it to expand [and] the safety relief valve will open allowing pressure to vent to the outside atmosphere. If the pressure inside the tank grows to a level exceeding that at which the safety relief valve can expel it from the tank, the propane tank may rupture.”
- Propane Cylinder Strength issues where “the integrity of a cylinder may be compromised due to forceful impact.”
- Propane Cylinder Explosions occurring when there is a rupture or leak
Personal injury cases involving a propane cylinder explosion or burns can often be complicated. A number of factors will be evaluated including the brand and model of the propane cylinder, the age of the tank, the usage and condition of the tank at the time of the injury, whether or not the harmed individual was using such propane tank consistent with the written instructions and warnings, and whether an explosion resulting in personal injuries or burns can be attributed to a defective product design.
Let our Personal Injury Attorneys Help You Today
If you or someone you know has suffered personal harm or medical issues as a result of a propane cylinder explosion, you need attorneys with experience. Colombo Law is highly experienced in such matters and can evaluate your potential legal claims on your behalf.