May 31st, 2020

Storing large quantities of gasoline is dangerous

By Jensen, Randy on April 2, 2020.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Fire Prevention Bureau is warning residents about the dangers of storing large quantities of gasoline in residential properties and using unapproved storage containers to do so.

“We have had phone calls coming into our office regarding people who are hoarding gasoline and filling up containers whether they are approved or not,” says Chief Fire Marshal Heath Wright. “As the fire marshal of the City of Lethbridge, I would like to remind citizens that approved gasoline containers are a must, not an option.

“I would like to encourage everyone to practise safe storage, handling and transporting of gasoline as it is a very dangerous and fire ignitable liquid.”

The maximum amount of stored fuel allowed at residential property with an attached garage or shed under the Alberta Fire Code is 30 litres besides what is already contained in your vehicles’ fuel tanks, Wright reminds Lethbridge residents. It also must be in an approved container meant for that purpose.

“Gasoline is an abrasive liquid, and it can actually cause destruction of the (unapproved) container itself,” he explains.

Failure to comply with these regulations will result in charges under the Alberta Fire Codes Act, Wright says.

Improper or dangerous storage of fuel will also increase your fire risk, and may have implications for your insurance in the event of a fire resulting from such improper hoarding behaviour.

“It can flash,” Wright explains. “What that means is it can start a fire that much quicker and spread that much quicker because the liquid has a bigger surface area and can enhance a fire 10 times as fast.”

There have only been a few calls related to improper fuel hoarding behaviour due to extremely low gasoline prices in the past few weeks, says Wright, but enough to cause his office concern.

“We have only had a few phone calls,” he says, “but we would like to get in front of the issue right away so we are able to educate the public and make their co-operation and understanding of the specifics of the dangers of hoarding gasoline is paramount.”

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