The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Staff Report
Valdez Star 

Propane leak caused evacuations Wednesday

State building and hotel guests unharmed after accident


Tony Gorman photo

Emergency crews from Crowley and the Valdez Fire Dept. tended a controlled burn of propane that was left in an underground tank outside the Mountain Sky Hotel last Wednesday after a bobcat operator broke the fuel line.

A bobcat operator was moving snow in the parking lot at the Mountain Sky Hotel last Wednesday, Dec. 12, when it accidently hit a valve on a buried propane tank. The resulting propane leak caused authorities to evacuate the hotel and the neighboring building that houses numerous state offices, including the court, DMV, job center and ironically, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation.

The leak, on the north side of the hotel, occurred at approximately 9:30 a.m. according to a press release issued by Holly Powers, assistant Public Information Officer for the City of Valdez.

Mountain Ski Hotel and the Valdez Fire Department responded immediately and discovered that there was about 300 gallons of propane left in the tank,” the press release said. “They are now slowly burning off the remaining gas and as a safety precaution have evacuated the entire hotel and the south side of the Court House building.”

Valdez fuel companies, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Fire Department are all on scene monitoring the burn off of the material, the city said during the operation.

Employees at the state building were permitted to move their vehicles by the early afternoon.

Tony Gorman photo

Propane leak responders prepared on Dec. 12, to begin burning off excess fuel left in the Mt. Sky Hotel’s damaged tank.

A temporary 1000 gallon tank was installed to service the hotel while the existing tank that was damaged in the accident is under repair, the city said.

“Crowley Petroleum is handling all repairs,” the city press release said.

The hotel reported it was reopened at around 5:30 p.m. that evening.

Fire and other emergency vehicles were used to block off the driveways of the two buildings along Meals Ave, while the burn-off of the propane tank occurred behind the hotel.

Information from Valdez officials was provided throughout the day by local radio stations, the City of Valdez website, and its Facebook page.


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