A dozen states warned about faulty propane -- including Virginia

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Propane customers in the commonwealth are being put on alert. A distributor with customers in Virginia says some propane deliveries may not have enough "artificial smell" -- which is used to detect leaks.

The Illinois based gas distributor, Aux Sable, says it issued the warning out of an abundance of caution. Some propane users, especially those who use the product to heat their homes, call the news alarming.

Barry Washington keeps his propane tank filled.

"I'm gearing up to use it since it's getting real cool outside," said Washington.

Washington recently heard of a warning about faulty propane gas in the commonwealth.

"It's surprising and it's dangerous," said Washington.

Aux Sable issued an alert for 12 states, which includes Virginia. A representative with the company tells some of its propane gas may not have enough odorant. The chemical gives a distinctive smell to the normally odorless gas.

"The problem with not having the ingredient in it is if there's a leak and it's not detected -- it's highly flammable materials and sparks or other smoking around it could cause an explosion," said Virginia Fire Marshal, Ed Altizer.

Aux Sable has distributors that sell its propane gas to customers in the commonwealth. Right now, it's unclear how many if any Virginians are affected by the problem.

"We grill all the time. That's shocking news. I didn't know anything about that. It's good to know," said propane customer, Chris Bucci.

Bucci and his grilling buddies say the alert serves as wake-up call.

"It's a good safety measure to have and I'll be on the look out to make sure other propane bottles are good to go," said Bucci.

There are still plenty of questions about what exactly led to the propane problem. An investigation is underway.

If you own a propane tank the state fire marshal says don't attempt to inspect your tank yourself -- that could lead to a leak that didn't exist. Instead contact your local delivery company.

The state attorney general and the state fire marshal have been alerted of the problem in Virginia. The 12 states involved in the alert are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, and Vermont.

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