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At what temperature does propane explode?

August 02, 2011|By Rebecca Zepick White | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — After Tuesday’s propane fire near Rose Hill, many people wondered if the record breaking 111 degree heat was a factor in the explosion, but propane experts say the gas doesn’t become flammable until it reaches close to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The flammability level for propane is right around 920 degrees,” said Mike Tanner, the General Manager at Wayman Oil Company. “ For propane to ignite or for there to be a fire, it’s like anything else. You’ve got to have an ignition source and you’ve got to have oxygen.”

Tanner says people should avoid smoking close to propane tanks and if they smell a leak, turn off the gas supply vauve and call a professional or 911 fro help.                                              

“Just use common sense, if you smell propane…you’re going to want to call your provider, get away from it, get out of the area and let you provider, who is a professional take care of it for you or call 911,” says Tanner.

Most people are familiar with propane as the source that fuels their barbeque grills. Both back yard gill tanks and the larger storage tanks have a safety valve that will allow any building pressure to vent.

“The big thing is just to be smart when using propane," says Tanner. "We don’t want cylinders stored in a  house, inside a garage or inside a shed. Although they may vent if they are outside and exposed to heat, they’re not going to explode. The mechanical safety devices are going to vent and we would just rather have that outside, out of a resident or out of a building.

Tanner says people should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, keep open flames away from propane tank s and have a professional repair any damage to a propane tank.

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