Safe Storage of Gasoline.
The consumption of gasoline has increased within the last decade from an amount that might be considered negligible as affecting fire hazard, to over 500,000,000 of gallons annually. This enormous quantity must be handled at least three or four times within the municipal limits, from the time it is transferred from tank ears until it reaches the consumer. With every transfer of this liquid. there is a serious loss by evaporation. The oil manufacturers and refiners acknowledge a loss of ti per cent, in transferring from tank cars through the various retainers, up to the time it reaches the combustion engine. There is an expansion of in the neighborhood of 1.400 diameters as gasoline passes into gas. Every gallon of gasoline that evaporates, therefore, may he said to represent 1,400 gallons of pure gasoline gas. As gasoline gas must be mixed with air to he explosive, it will he readily understood that this gallon of gasoline represents nearly 20 times 1,400 gallons of gas when it reaches its explosive state. Thus for every gallon of gasoline that evaporates, there are in the neighborhood of 28,000 gallons of explosive gas liberated. As this gas is heavier than air, it will fall into area ways and unventilated places and may remain for days without losing its explosive qualities. As an illustration of the menace of gasoline improperly stored, constitutes to every municipality to-day. it is only necessary to consider the quantity of gasoline stored and sold by garages, with the evaporation that takes place in the handling of this liquid, to realize that the subject of storage is one that should seriously interest those who are considering public safety. If a garage handles 100 gallons of gasoline a day, and this is a small quantity for a city garage, and if this 100 gallons of gasoline be reduced to 08 gallons gross, by evaporation, it would mean that in the neighborhood of 50,000 gallons of an explosive gas would be liberated in the vicinity of this garage. True, with pump systems in which gasoline is ordinarily stored, a vent pipe is provided that goes to the top of the building, but as the gas is heavier than air, it may fall if atmospheric conditions are right and drift along until it strikes a spark or flame, and an explosion may occur or it may drop into the basements of adjacent buildings and there be ignited. Many fires of mysterious origin may undoubtedly be traced to this source. A terrible hazard from another source confronts every municipality which permits the storage .of gasoline in pump systems. The ordinary jnitup system is provided with a fill pipe, which is flush with the curb or is below’ the curb level, and is protected by a metal box, set in flush with the ground. This metal box is covered loosely by an iron lid, which would sufficiently protect the gasoline in storage, to suggest to careless employes, that the fill-cap with which the pipe is provided, might be left off. As a matter of fact, this is frequently done with no objectionable results, until a fire occurs This Ixvx. set in the ground, forms an excellent basin for water, which drains from the fire and the pipe leading into the tank forms a perfect drain from the box. With the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that may be poured into a burning building, it would not be long before the gasoline tank in the ground is full of water. As gasoline is lighter than water, the water will go into the tank and drive the gasoline out. The gasoline floats 4n top of the water volatizing and passing away in a vapor to some extent to be sure ami possibly communicating with the lire itself or will as a liquid, drain into adjoining basements or area ways, with disastrous results. A system of storage of gasoline is now in more or less common use, in which water is stored in tanks below the gasoline. A sewer connection is provided, by means of which the water finds exit into the sewer, but this sewer connection is hydrostatically regulated, so that it is impossible to force gasoline itself into the sewer. This is accomplished positively by balanced columns arid without the aid of mechanical devices which might become deranged. In this system of storage the tank is full of liquid at all times, either gasoline and water, all water or all gasoline. No am is permitted to come in contact with the gaso line at any time. In this system in filling the tank, instead of expelling a quantity of gasoline gas into the air. a quantity of water equal to the amount of gasoline introduced into the storage tank is expelled into the sewer. To draw gasoline. instead of pumping from the bottom of the tank and permitting an amount of air equal to the amount of gasoline which is withdrawn, to enter the tank, water is permitted to flow into the tank from the bottom, and the gasoline is floated on top of the water to such a height as may he required, to the delivery nozzle.