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Sep 30, 1999

Fire Chief says gas truck accident in Succotz preventable

Although butane gas companies agreed last year to stop using tanker trucks on house to house visits in developed areas, the practice continues, and on Wednesday two men and two children in Succotz paid the price for the supposed convenience. BWEL employees Rafael Novelo and Alfredo Guardado were filling a fifty-pound cylinder when the bottom ruptured and pressurized gas escaped. Novelo was burned on his hand, face, back and shoulder; his assistant was burned on both hands. Two children walking home from school Jose Uck, fourteen and Michael Itza, thirteen, were also burned. Guardado was admitted to the Loma Luz Hospital while the others were treated and released. BWEL issued a statement saying the problem was caused because the bottom of the tank had been replaced and the weld failed. They warn the public not to try and repair tanks and to never use a damaged tank because they are dangerous. However, Fire Chief Henry Baizar told News Five that it is the very practice of filling gas tanks from these trucks that is dangerous. He says although everyone agreed at a meeting last year to cease the practice, since it is not yet law many companies continue to put profits before safety. He says if the workers had taken the tank in question to a proper depot where it could have been examined before being filled, there would not have been an accident. Baizar says that even if damaged tanks do not leak while being filled, they can explode later on causing more injuries and setting houses on fire. The ban on tanker trucks in towns and villages was prompted by an accident in Yo Creek, Orange Walk in which two people died and several children were severely burned when a tank burst while being filled. Fire Chief Baizar will discuss gas tanks and other dangers tonight on “One on One” with Dickie Bradley.

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