Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Putting our Propane Kit to Work.

Breda Feed IncidentBreda Feed Incident


Article in part posted in Valero’s internal newsletter

Credit author/supplier in part by Valero Marketing and Supply Company

 A 9,000-bushel grain bin collapsed at a farm co-op in the center of Breda, Iowa, earlier this year, hitting a liquid propane line on the way down threatening a massive leak that could have choked off access to the community - or worse.

 But a new propane response kit donated by Valero's Fort Dodge ethanol plant averted potential disaster. Responders used the kit, called Propane B, to relieve pressure in the damaged line, allowing the fuel to pass to a flare so that it could be burned off safely.

 "This tank had approximately 800 gallons of liquid propane gas and would have leaked for days if not for us having the capabilities to mitigate the leak with the Propane B kit," said Tom Ubben, Region V Hazmat Coordinator in Iowa. "The main road through Breda was directly south of the emergency scene so it could have been shut down for days."

 Valero decided to donate the kit after plant employees participated in a quarterly emergency planning meeting with Region V LEPC.

 "For Valero, safety is our top priority for both our employees and the community around us," said Plant Manager Troy Shaner. "When we think about a Hazmat Team /fire department like Region V/Fort Dodge Fire, it's important to see that they have what they need because our employees also live in these communities."

 The kit, including hardware and hoses used to find leaks in propane tanks and control them, has already been used for the Breda incident and one other, as well as for training.

 "The kit is pretty elaborate," Ubben said. "Anything that could go wrong in a tank, it has a solution to fix it."

 Ubben said Region V Hazmat, which covers nine counties in Iowa served by that region's Local Emergency Planning Committee, is the only team in the state to acquire the $3,925 kit.

 "We have a very rural area with a lot of farming communities that use a lot of propane," he said. "We provide that (response) capability to the whole nine counties that we cover. It helped our region out tremendously."

 Ubben said his team determined need for the kit after taking a class specific to propane incidents.

 "After that class we realized that everybody has a lot of propane in their area and no equipment at all for propane response," he said. "Basically we had to rely on propane companies to give advice or any equipment we needed."

 Corey Collet, Manager of Health, Safety and Environmental for the Valero plant, said the kit donation was one more example of a long-standing collaboration with the department/team. Most recently, he said Valero invited firefighters/team members to meet at and tour the plant.

 "We thought it was important since there were a number of new firefighters/team members in the department," he said. "We wanted to make it an open door kind of thing - not only are they wanted and needed, they're welcomed here."

 Top photo: The Region V Hazmat team responds to a farm co-op grain bin that fell and damaged a nearby propane tank. 


Flare KitFlare Kit

This photo: The propane response kit sits open in front of a flare used to release pressure in the tank. Photos courtesy of the Region V Hazmat Team.