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Propane Tank Fire Forces Liberty Island Evacuation

Firefighters ensure the propane tanks that caught fire were completely extinguished (photo courtesy ABC News).

For the second time this summer, the island that is the home of the Statue of Liberty was evacuated - this time due to a fire caused by propane tanks, according to news reports.

The incident occurred just hundreds of yards away from the statue, on a construction site where a new museum is being built.

Witnesses cited popping noises before the tanks erupted in flames, creating such a dangerous situation that, according to New York Fire Department Manhattan Borough Commander Roger Sakowich, the evacuation of 3400 people from the island was a must. "With that much propane, a BLEVE [boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion], which would have been one of the tanks exploding, could have been catastrophic," he said. 

In the light of a recent record-setting settlement for victims of a food truck explosion, we have discussed the many dangers of working with propane and precautions that must be taken.

Investigators have not yet determined the exact cause of the fire.

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