Liquid propane tank explodes in mini-van in Walmart parking lot


The driver of a minivan was rushed to the hospital on Sunday when a 100-pound liquid propane tank exploded in his mini-van.

The Pioneer Press reports that the blast happened in a parking lot of the St. Paul Walmart store on University Ave. The driver was alone in the Dodge Caravan when the tank blew up, shattering the vehicle's windows.

WCCO reported that firefighters concluded that a leak in the propane tank is the cause of the explosion. KARE reported the driver was not aware that it was leaking when he returned to his vehicle and started it.

Deputy Chief Pat Smith of the St. Paul Fire Department said something sparked what he called "a significant explosion."

The victim was taken to Regions Hospital with burn and concussion injuries.

A 100-pound tank is larger than the type that would power a barbecue grill. It measured about 5 feet high and 1 foot in diameter, Smith estimated.

As grilling season begins, it's prime time for gas grill owners to get a fresh tank of liquid propane. The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission has suggestions about safely storing and transporting liquid propane gas containers. It says to always make sure that the containers are upright and secure and to have the container refilled only by a liquid propane gas dealer or other qualified service station operator.

The recommendations also say to never keep the gas containers in a hot car, garage or shed for a long period of time.

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