Crime - Sacto 911

Sierra residents warned snow-covered propane tanks could leak, explode

Placer County officials are urging Sierra residents to clear snow from propane tanks to prevent leaks and possible explosions.

Citing accumulations of more than 20 feet of snow in some areas, the county, in cooperation with local fire districts, issued an emergency alert for the North Lake Tahoe area west to Cisco Grove using the Placer Alert system to warn residents of the risks and advising them to quickly remove snow from tanks, gas lines and regulators, according to a county news release.

In 2011, heavy snow loads resulted in widespread leaks in the Serene Lakes area, prompting evacuations and disconnection of power to homes. One leak caused an explosion that destroyed a home, the news release noted.

Residents are advised to clear the area around all types of propane tanks, including underground, sheltered and stand-alone tanks. Before digging in the ground, they should call the county Department of Environmental Health office in Tahoe City at 530-581-6240. Questions about how to safely clear or de-ice tank components should be directed to the propane provider, the news release said.

“Snow loads on roofs and decks are a problem throughout the Sierra right now, and everyone should take care to clear those. But loads on propane tanks are an especially serious concern,” John McEldowney, county Office of Emergency Services manager, said in a written statement. “Residents should dig out and inspect their tanks as soon as they possibly can and call 911 if they smell any gas at all.”

Residents can sign up for the Placer Alert emergency alert system to receive text, email or phone notification of dangers in their neighborhoods on the Placer Alert website,

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy