In Lincoln, California, firefighters contained a fire on a rail tanker that contained liquid propane, thereby ending the possibility of a massive explosion and allowing thousands of evacuees to return to their homes.
Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt told the Associated Press that firefighters allowed the propane rail tanker burn itself out after determining the car held less propane than previously thought.
The tanker caught fire midday on Tuesday at a Northern Propane Energy yard in Lincoln, a city of 40,000 north of Sacramento. Between 4,000 and 5,000 homes were evacuated because of fears of a massive explosion that could have resulted from the fire.
Oil and gas firefighting experts from Texas had arrived to assist. They found that the metal sides of the tanker were beginning to melt, and workers were preparing to cut into the tanker to spill the liquid propane. However, late Wednesday they changed tactics after finding the rail car held much less propane than previously thought, instead working to fill the tank with water and foam as the remaining propane burned off.
For more info on hazmat response, read THE “MADDER” CHECKLIST FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE or Hazmat Survival Tips: Common Misconceptions Regarding the 2008 ERG.