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Snowplow hits propane tank, starts fire in St. Albans - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Snowplow hits propane tank, starts fire in St. Albans

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ST. ALBANS, Vt. -

Patricia Joyal of Saint Albans awoke early in the morning to the smell of gas - from a burning propane tank. "We could smell gas, propane gas. Then we got a knock on the doors, policemen telling us to evacuate," says Joyal.

Police and fire crews arrived at "Liberty Propane" Saturday morning, after receiving a 9-1-1 call from a passerby who saw flames coming from a large propane tank.

"It's a 3-hundred and thirty gallon tank and we're just letting it blow off the rest of the gas at this time," says Captain Matt Mulheron of the Saint Albans Fire Department.

Dozens of firefighters fought the propane fire, while police kept the public a safe distance away. "It was very scary to be that close, and the air was so full of gas smells that it was just really hard to breathe," says Joyal.

According to the Saint Albans Chief of Police, the fire started at around 6:30 Saturday morning when a snowplow accidentally struck a propane tank. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

"Houses on the backside of Sunset Meadows did get a little gas in them so we did evacuate those houses. We evacuated about 40 people, sheltered them at City Hall. There's about 7 people in the shelter right now," says Captain Mulheron.

Firefighters cooled the tank with their hoses, and contained the fire - letting it burn out. The American Red Cross arrived to assist both emergency responders and the relocated residents.

"The folks that are here, we're doing mass-care for them. We're providing their morning coffee and donuts, and if we are together through lunch we will continue to support them with food," says Brent Garrow of the American Red Cross Burlington Chapter.

Joyal is anxious to go home, but says she's grateful for all those who helped out during the fire. "everybody is fairly comfortable and they're doing okay," she says.

According to the Red Cross, 3 homes near Liberty Propane suffered water damage. Volunteers say they are on standby to assist.

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