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Propane tank valve struck by workers; blast averted

Construction workers late Monday morning accidentally struck a valve from an underground propane tank in the Town of Newstead, putting a small hole in the tank that was filled with between 200 and 300 gallons of propane.

Some of the propane dissipated in the air, and some of it was burned off later, but authorities said there was no explosion, and there were no injuries.

The incident happened at about 11 a.m. on Crego Road, between Berghorn and Rapids roads.

Authorities tried to evacuate the four families living in the houses closest to the tank, but three of them were not at home, and the fourth already was in the process of leaving at the time, said Newstead Fire Company Chief Scott Zitzka.

Reliable Propane Corp., owners of the 500-pound tank, responded to the rupture quickly, Zitzka said, and had a crew on hand to begin plugging the tank to stop the leak.

“They put a vent into the tank to burn off the rest of the gas,” he said.

“They’re going to either dig it up and replace it or repair it,” he added.