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Leaking propane tank blamed for fiery Uintah County explosion

Published March 4, 2013 8:04 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A leaking tank holding propane gas is blamed for an explosion that destroyed one building and damaged 11 others in Uintah County, fire investigators determined Sunday.

Lt. Steve Winward said a truck had delivered two 250 gallon propane tanks Friday night, which were then offloaded into a container inside a building at the Ashley Valley Industrial Park in Jensen, a few miles southeast of Vernal. The facility, at 5131 S. 4880 East, is run by Adler Hot Oil Service.

He said the gas was very cold when it went into the building, but it quickly warmed and expanded once inside.

Winward said for some reason it appeared the tank's leak valve may have been stuck open. The gas then expanded into the building, floated until it found an ignition source and then exploded about 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

Fire crews arrived at the facility to battle the flames, and residents living in about 30 homes within a half-mile were evacuated. The evacuation was lifted 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

There were no reports of injuries.

In November 2010, a fire damaged the same Adler Hot Oil Service building that was destroyed Saturday. Several explosions and a subsequent fire injured two people and caused more than $2 million in damage.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribjanelle