Propane Tank Recall: Risk of Gas Leak and Fire Hazard

On July 11, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of nearly 11,000 Conversion Underground Propane Storage Tanks manufactured by American Welding & Tank, LLC, of Jesup, Georgia. Rust could develop inside the tanks, which may cause an odorant added to propane to fade. This poses a fire and burn hazard, as owners may not be able to detect that they have a gas leak.

The propane tank recall applies to units between 120 gallons and 1,000 gallons, which were converted from above-ground to underground between January 2005 and April 2008. With the propane tanks underground, they have been found to have an increased risk of the gas odor fading, and at least two reports have been received of individuals sustaining first and second degree burns while trying to ignite an outdoor fireplace.

Propane is used to fuel home heating systems, portable stoves, barbecues and recreational vehicles. An odorant is added to propane alert people to gas leaks. Without that odor, users are unable to detect that a problem may exist, which could result in a fire or propane tank explosion. 

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According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), propane was used in 9.4 million homes in 2001. Between 2000 and 2004 there were 1,390 propane-related home fires, in which, on average, 23 people died and 193 were injured. In many cases, propane tank explosions are caused by negligent installation or maintenance of the system.
 
American Welding & Tank, LLC has advised owners of their recalled underground propane storage tanks to stop using the tanks immediately unless otherwise instructed. Many of the retailers who sold the recalled propane tanks have already begun notifing owners directly. For further information, consumers may contact American Welding & Tank LLC toll-free at (866) 614-0910 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Mon-Fri, or visit the firm’s website at www.awtank.com.

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