On Friday January 16 at 4:26 p.m. the Brewster Fire Department responded to a reported gas leak at the Town water pumping station located on Freemans Way. On arrival Engine 239 under the command of Captain Varley found a white vapor cloud coming from a 1000 gallon propane tank used to power the backup pumps at the station. Captain Varley immediately requested NSTAR to the scene to cut the electric power to the area in order to eliminate any potential ignition sources. He also requested the response of the Brewster Water Department and Snow’s Propane to assist with mitigating the leak. Upon further investigation personnel found the leak coming from a valve used to remove liquid product from the tank. In an effort to reduce the flow of propane as quickly as possible and provide time to develop a mitigation plan a hand line was attached to the top of the tank and water was used to create an ice barrier around the valve.
Captain Varley requested the response of the State Hazardous Material Team to the scene for technical assistance. On their arrival a plan to safely burn off the leaking vapor using a propane gas burner unit was developed and implemented. The crew from Snow’s propane set up the vapor burning device and the unit was ignited. Brewster units remained on scene standing by during the burn until approximately 7:00 a.m. the following morning when the pressure in the tank was reduced to the point the propane company was able to cap the leak. During the incident the Red Cross provided rehabilitation services to personnel at the scene.