Officials stress safety after Montgomery County house explosion

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY - Local and state officials have released propane safety information in the wake of Tuesday's house explosion in Dobbin.

The Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office and Texas Railroad Commission said many Montgomery County residents may have concerns about the safe use of propane in their homes. 

Officials said with proper safety procedures and routine maintenance, propane can be a safe alternative fuel, but when these precautions are not followed, the results can be catastrophic.

 In suburban and rural Texas, propane is an everyday part of our lives. Many residents in Montgomery County rely on propane (also called LPG or LP-gas) to heat their water, homes and cook their meals. In its natural state, propane is a colorless and odorless gas. Since propane is odorless, it is intentionally odorized so leaks can be detected. The odor is similar to rotten eggs.   

Authorities said if your home uses either natural gas or LPG, it should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector on each floor. You may want to consider purchasing a dual purpose detector designed to alert you to either a build-up of carbon monoxide or a gas leak.

Here are some safety tips from the Texas Railroad Commission:

Maintenance on your propane system:
• Never modify or repair your propane system yourself. Ask your propane supplier to send a trained technician to do the work.
• If an appliance or any other component of your propane system has been tagged "out-of-service," do not attempt to enable it. The tag indicates a serious unsafe condition.
• If an appliance has been added to or removed from your system, contact your supplier so that a technician can perform a required leak test.
• Ask your propane supplier to conduct a gas safety check to inspect your system for leaks and ensure it meets all applicable safety standards. The technician will also check your tank, piping, regulators, gauges, connectors, valves, vents, thermostats, pilots, burners and appliance controls to make sure they are in good working condition.

Lighting pilots on appliances:
• Notify your propane supplier immediately if you have a problem lighting a pilot.
• Never attempt to modify or repair the gas control valves or any other component of a gas appliance.
• Never light a pilot if you smell gas.
• If you continue to smell gas, even after lighting a pilot, turn off the gas valve immediately upstream of the appliance to stop the flow of gas. Contact your propane supplier immediately to investigate the situation.
• In most situations it is best to have a trained technician light the pilots on your appliances


The dangers of uncapped lines:
• Leaks that occur from open lines are extremely dangerous due to the potential for a large volume of gas to be released over a short period of time.
• All lines not attached to appliances must be closed and terminated with threaded caps or plugs. If you have any questions, please call your propane supplier.
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