According to FSO Edward Taomoto, at 1:19 p.m. Friday afternoon, emergency responders were called to a leaking propane storage tank on Lower Main Street, in Wailuku. When Wailuku firefighters arrived at 1:25 p.m., a loud whistling sound was heard coming from a 1,150 gallon propane tank to the rear of Nakamura Mortuary. Lower Main Street was closed for a brief time between Waena Street and Puaala Place. Kawaipuna Place and Nakila Place, off of Lower Main, were also closed to traffic.
A hazardous materials team from Kahului was brought in to take atmospheric readings and determine if there were any flammability hazards. They concluded the area was safe to enter and there was no danger of the gas exploding. Lower Main Street was reopened 30 minutes later.
The HazMat team, along with the owner of the tank, Maui Gas Service, determined that a pressure relief valve properly opened in order to relieve mounting gas pressure most likely caused by Friday’s unusually high temperatures. However, the relief valve failed to re-close after internal pressures dropped to safe levels, so Maui Gas Service workers unloaded the remaining propane into a mobile tank truck.
When the HazMat crew left the scene at 5:47 p.m., Maui Gas Service planned on burning off the remaining flammable vapors so repairs on the stuck valve could be made.