Firefighters escape serious injury as propane tank explodes
GUN BARREL CITY– Gun Barrel City Firefighters responded to a report of a forklift on fire at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store located at 201 West Main Street at 2:43 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.18.
Upon arrival, firefighters observed a propane powered forklift truck fully engulfed in flames in front of the west entrance to the lawn and garden area. The fire engine was positioned aproximately 100 feet from the fire so the firefighters could assess the fire and plan an attack to extinguish the fire and cool the propane tank down.
As the firefighters were getting into position with the hose line near the truck, the propane tank ruptured sending a large fireball 20 feet into the air. The heat was so intense that it could be felt back where the fire engine was parked.
Gun Barrel City Fire Chief Joseph Lindaman, said, “In my nearly 30 years in the fire service, I have never seen a propane tank rupture as a result of a forklift fire. Today’s incident at Lowe’s could have resulted in very serious injuries to our firefighters and to the guests and associates at Lowe’s today. I want to commend our Firefighters Jacob Raney and Matthew Newkirk for using good tactics when approaching the forklift fire. I also want to commend Lowe’s for their quick action in evacuating all guests and employees from the store until the forklift fire was extinguished.”
The forklift was a total loss and some product stored in the area had the plastic packaging damaged. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.