CHENANGO COUNTY – Last week’s snap of cold weather seems to have come to an end, but local officials want to insure that if it returns, residents will know how to handle it.
A combination of bitterly cold weather and high heating oil costs have led some individuals to look for alternative ways to heat their homes this winter. According to the Office of Fire Prevention and Control, many are using propane cylinders inside residential structures, and the results can be dangerous.
In at least three fires reported to the New York state Office of Fire Prevention and Control, small one pound to twenty pound propane cylinders were found inside the destroyed structures, some of which had ruptured causing explosions.
Propane, commonly known as liquefied petroleum gas or LP gas, is commonly used in barbecue grills and portable stoves as well as in some furnaces, cooking stoves, water heaters and various appliances. However, propane tanks are normally stored outside of the home. “The problem is that people are bringing the portable tanks inside,” said City of Norwich Code Enforcement Officer Jason Lawrence. Small heaters, intended for outside use are used in the home, and if placed too close to combustible material, the heaters can cause fires, which often cause the propane cylinders to explode.