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.

Views: 650

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

A lot of great idea's. I did forget to mention that the pipe had melted  and was only about a 3/8" hole at the end leaking and was a old lead pipe and flush with the concrete wall. This i believe is important information i forgot sorry.

Filling the gasoline tank with water is a creative idea, but it has some hazards.  You'd have to match the water fill to the leak rate, or you'd run the risk of overfilling the tank and creating a catastrophic tank rupture.  It would also take time to set this operation up, and you'd have to consider terrain, wind, etc. to choose the apparatus position.


In our case, if the outlet was accessible, we'd just plug the pipe with an intrinsically safe pneumatic pipe plug.  We can plug pipes from around 1.5 inches up to a 3.5 foot culvert pipe.


I wouldn't put an extrication spreader anywhere near a leaking gasoline pipe, especially if the hydraulic pump was powered by a gasoline engine/ignition source.

Doesn't change that it's gravity fed. I would still give my suggestion a try.

If not, bang away at the concrete wall just enough to rig a spout and start filling buckets and POV's.

Or, run a threading tap through the hole, if it's just 3/8", and put a bolt with a nylon washer in it.

A lot of good ideas mentioned, and I'm curious now to see how it was managed.

Here it is. When they arrived garage was fully involved and had extended to the house. First line went in the front door and knocked down the fire in the house. Then all concentrated on garage. Once the fire was knocked down in garage and trying to do salvage in house is when they were smelling gas and the garage reignited. They knocked the fire back down and started looking for the source of gas. Structure was unsafe to go into and 1/2 of roof had collapsed along with 1 wall. They did not know that the hole in wall was about 3/8"-1/2"at that time. and when they found the fuel tank there was only 2" under tank before the pipe went into the ground. Detlef  hit the nail on the head Asst. Chief Brown had them hook up a portable pump and start filling the tank with water it took them about 30 minutes to get water flowing out the pipe. That pump set there at idle for two day with the nozzle and hose hang from a tree branch and supported in place with old lumber they found to make a bracket to hold in place. One of the fireman would go and fill pump up with gas every 2 hours. They finally got someone in to dig up the pipe and cap it off. When this order was giving some on the department thought Chief Brown had falling off his rocker but this fire is still talked about today in our department from the guys that were the young guys at the time and said to be one of the best safe's they have witnessed. The old owner of this home will tell you he is still grateful for the going above the call of duty by leaving the pump there for two days and guys checking on it every 2 hour's. The garage was torn down but the house is still standing. Something to be said about heavy timber house's.

I do like the idea's here. Thank's for your response's.

I would find out who is of Dutch background and have them recreate the boy saving Holland from flooding by putting his finger in the dike.......or the most junior FF to do the job.


In seriousness......for one this would not be an issue for us, we don't have such places where this would occur. Secondly, you are talking about an event over 20 years ago, so industry standards have changed. However, in such events, an engine company should carry an assortment of wood plugs to be used for such leaks.

Wow I hit it...nice to hear but I liked the other ideas too....what it comes down to is a word I always use during recruit training. When the FD arrives being called to an incident there is no "Backup from heaven or elsewhere" as we are meant to be the last line of defense for the public (including all the other aid agencies of course!). So we don`t leave as long as there is danger around but come up with a toolbox of ideas, one of them will eventually fit and solve the problem! So keep your heads thinking out of the box.

Thanks for the opportuinity to share ideas!

Yours Detlef

3/8 hole - plug it with a wooden hazmat plug or rubber hazmat stopper.

You find gas flowing from a 2" pipe



If this happened today....gas stations would jack the price of gas up another 5 cents....just because.

maybe 10 cents. The wooden plugs are a great resource and 20 years ago a lot of things were done differently then today. But learn what you can about how things were done years ago and you may find how useful they become in today's firefighting. Newer is not always better.

Reply to Discussion


Find Members Fast

Or Name, Dept, Keyword
Invite Your Friends
Not a Member? Join Now

© 2023   Created by Firefighter Nation WebChief.   Powered by

Badges  |  Contact Firefighter Nation  |  Terms of Service