You roll up on a working structure fire. Wood frame with attached garage and garage is fully involved. Structure is also on east side of a lake and sets on a hill across the road from the lake. You get the fire knocked down and the garage reignites. You get the fire knocked back down and keep getting a strong smell of gasoline. You find gas flowing from a 2" pipe and your commanding officer orders someone to find the source. You find a 200 gallon fuel tank 500 yards up hill 3/4 full and there is no shut off valve and 2"pipe runs under ground all the way to garage and you realize this is gravity feed and the only shut off was the gas nozzle at the end of the hose that was burnt up in the fire. Question: How do you stop the flow of gas to prevent it from igniting again or flowing in to the road and into the lake?


This was the scene of a fire in are town almost 20 years ago. On Saturday I will tell you what our asst. Chief at the time did. But interested in how you would handle the situation.

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20 years ago, so i'm assuming some sort of metal pipe (as compared to PVC.)  In that case I'd 

take the jaws and pinch it shut.

Just my "out side the box idea"

I agree if metal use the jaw and pinch it shut, Just keep the power plant well away. If it is pvc plug it with something and wrap it in duct tape until a more permanent solution is found.

If it's gravity fed, couldn't you seal the vent and filling tube on the tank? Maybe combine that with plugging the nozzle end?

You are right it was metal pipe and at that time we had no jaws  but i like your thinking.

I would go with a round, wood wedge on the end of the pipe assuming that it can be found in all the debris.  Otherwise, either pinch the pipe or try to seal the vents.  An outside the box idea would be to set up a portable tank off a tender and let the gasoline flow into it for later disposal/management.

Seal up the vent cap, the flow will stop and you now have time to see about sealing the discharge pipe properly.

We carry wood cone shaped wedges for plugging pipe.  I definitely would not be pinching pipe with gasoline flowing through it with the jaws.  First of all it is highly doubtful you will get it sealed tight, unless you leave the jaws in place.  Secondly, I would not leave a multi-thousand dollar tool clamped on to a piece of pipe in a place that a rekindle may occur.

Hi, just an outside of the box idea from germany :-)

If there`s no way to stop the flow because of the outlet not being accessible or otherwise, just run a hoseline up the hill to put it deep into the tank and let water run into the tank slowly. As gasoline floats on water there will be plain water coming out of the outlet after some time. This can be kept going almost forever because of the nearby lake. This was done several years ago by an austrian FD after a train derailment with a leakage (described in a book).

Greetings, Detlef

Nice solution, I like that!

Wow, that is out side the box, but a great idea!

After doing a little, very little that is, research I'm not sure what the crush strength of 2" pipe is.  The pulling force on our Hurst spreaders (which I am surely misconstruing as crushing strength) is 6969 lbs. (http://www.jawsoflife.com/Products/Product/Default.aspx?ProductId=1...)  I'm not sure that ~7000 lbs would be enough to do it.  

Not even thinking about sealing off the vent cap on the up hill side of the system (that's why my helmet isn't white) I would still give it a shot.  The pipe was just involved in a fully involved garage fire and is still fairly warm (I'm assuming here...) and thus somewhat weaker than when at ambient temperature.

I did think of using pipe plugs first off, then remembered the OP stated it was 2" pipe and the plugs we carry on our engines are 1" and smaller (usually used to plug the domestic natural gas pipe from the meter that someone has so nicely displaced 50 yards down the alley way from it's original location.)

Great insight gained so far!  I'm very interested in what the department did, and how it worked!

Novel idea indeed. I believe it would work for the gasoline in the tank but the 2” x 1500’ pipe holds approximately 244 gallons. That’s almost 100 gallons more than in the tank and would flow out before the water did. That would only be a 35% success rate, give or take. Still a great idea, better if the supply line wasn’t so long. I’d go with the corking off the line attempt.

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