• Propane on its own has no odor.
  • Another gas called Mercaptan is added to both natural gas and propane gas to give it the rotten egg smell so a leak can be detected.
  • Propane is heavier than air and sinks.
  • Propane does not dissipate rapidly, so it can pool around the ground near a tank.

Recent Developments:

Click below too see the findings of the independent examiners report to AG Coakley, Fire Marshall Coan and DCP:

Independent Examiner's Report DCP Westfield Propane Odor Confirmation (PDF) pdf format of Independent Examiner's Report DCP Westfield Propan

A Department of Fire Services investigation has uncovered the distribution of propane gas with insufficient odorant. A number of people may have received propane with insufficient odorant if they received a delivery or refilled a propane cylinder since May 1st.

The lack of odorant is not in itself dangerous. Fire officials are concerned about the lack of odorant because the odorant is an early warning should a leak occur.

Keep in mind that not all propane in the Commonwealth is affected, only some. The investigation has tracked the delivery chain to one large distribution facility in Westfield that has about 20 distributors that deliver directly to residential and commercial customers and to refilling stations. Only propane delivered since May 1st from this particular source is involved. If you have not had a delivery since May 1st, you have no reason to be concerned.

 

What you should do:

If you use piped propane inside your home, use common sense. The New England Propane Gas association has provided a contact number for customers of propane gas who have questions about their service or for testing of tanks. That contact is 888-445-1075 or online at www.pgane.org.

  • Contact your distributor to see if your delivery is part of the affected propane. Remember that not all propane in Massachusetts is affected, only some.
  • DFS and the Attorney Generals Office are working to identify affected retailers and will post that information on our websites.
  • Remember the gas is safe to use.
  • This is only a danger if a leak occurs, because it may not be detected.

Exercise extra caution.

  • Do not smoke indoors or near propane tanks.
  • If you have a power outage, use flashlights and battery-operated candles instead of traditional flame candles.
  • Do not use fireplaces or woodstoves as alternative heating sources.
  • Consider purchasing a gas detector. It could cost about $60.
  • DO NOT attempt to inspect your system yourself. This could create a leak that did not previously exist. Work with your local delivery company.

If you have a gas grill, we are concerned, with the approaching storm, that during possible power outages people may turn to cooking with their LP-gas grills. It is important to use normal precautions:

  • Make sure the connections are tight.
  • Use outdoors only
  • Use ten feet away from the building
  • Do not use on balconies above the first floor.
  • Consider not using at all and going to a shelter.

 

The Scope of the Problem

We have tracked the delivery chain to one large distribution facility in Westfield that has about 20 distributors that deliver directly to residential and commercial customers and to refilling stations.

The Westfield facility has been shut down. Distributors who received propane from the facility are being contacted to test their product for odorant. Several have found insufficient odor and have voluntarily shut down until the matter can be corrected.

The New England Propane Gas association has provided a contact number for customers of propane gas who have questions about their service or for testing of tanks. That contact is 888-445-1075 or online at www.pgane.org.