More than 2,000 gallons of propane gas leaking from a tanker truck in Garden Grove forced the closure of a stretch of Westminster Boulevard during rush hour traffic and the evacuation of several nearby businesses Thursday, authorities said.
The incident was "a severe life, safety and fire hazard," said Battalion Chief Vince Bonacker of the Garden Grove Fire Department, because the gas is highly flamable. "The potential was for explosion and fire."
According to Bonacker, a 3,000-gallon tank was being serviced at the California Gas Corp. at 10622 Westminster Blvd. about 3:30 p.m. when a defective valve was exposed, unexpectedly releasing the gas.
Several fire units responded to the scene, Bonacker said, but the firefighters were unable to stop the leak.
"It went out on its own," he said. "We couldn't shut it off."
Fire hoses were laid in the area and Westminster Boulevard was closed between Euclid Street and Brookhurst Street for nearly an hour, until the estimated 2,500 gallons of propane inside the truck leaked out, sometimes in a plume as high as 20 feet.
"There was a pretty good cloud of vaporized water and propane," Bonacker said.
Businesses were allowed to reopen and traffic resumed along Westminster Boulevard by about 4:30 p.m., fire officials said.