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Sentinel staff report–
Residents of an apartment complex next to Harris Gas on Auburn Boulevard were evacuated by emergency personnel on Memorial Day, after fire crews responded to a report of a flaming propane tank.
A two to three-foot-high flame could be seen coming from the top of a large, upright propane tank in the rear yard of Harris Gas on Monday, around 4 p.m., with several firefighters observed near the tank and police vehicles in the area.
Police Lt. Michael Wells said officers were dispatched to the area at 3:33 p.m., following a report of a propane tank catching fire. He said officers began evacuating nearby businesses and apartments on Auburn Oaks Court, as a precaution.
Wells said firefighters eventually extinguished the fire and determined that arson was not a factor in the incident.
Questions regarding the cause of fire were directed to Metro Fire spokesman Chris Vestal, who told The Sentinel the incident was first dispatched as a tree fire, but arriving crews quickly determined it to be “an off gassing propane tank.” He said crews deployed water hose lines to prevent the tank from exploding.
“The tanks and valves are designed to contain gas up until a certain pressure,” said Vestal. “Upon that pressure being exceeded, they will bleed pressure at a controlled rate to reduce pressure back to the safe levels.”
He said it is unknown why the tank was off-gassing, and also what started the fire.
Harris Gas is located at 8475 Auburn Blvd. and is known for being the oldest business still in operation in Citrus Heights. For more, see prior article: The story behind the oldest business in Citrus Heights
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