Deerfield-News.com-Deerfield Beach, Fl-From Broward Sheriffs Fire Rescue PIO Michael Kane- Residents of the small village of Hillsboro Beach awoke this morning to a spectacular sight. A four-foot flame shooting into the air.
That was the scene when Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and Fort Lauderdale Hazardous Materials Teams responded to the Port de Mer Condominium located at 1237 Hillsboro Mile in Hillsboro Beach.
The Hillsboro Beach Police Department requested the response from firefighters after an alert police officer smelled gas in the area just before 6 a.m.. This prompted a full hazardous materials response. When firefighters arrived to investigate they identified that the source of the leak was a malfunctioning gas relief valve. A relief valve is designed to activate when gases from pressurized containers or tanks reach or near harmful pressures. It appears that in this case, the warm weather expanded the gas pressures inside the vessel causing the relief valve to actuate, as it should. Unfortunately however, the valve did not reseat and continued to leak propane gas.
Firefighters were forced to conduct a gas burn-off where the remnants of gas inside the tank are attached to a flare stack and are lit aflame which safely controls the release of gas and prevents an uncontrolled, spontaneous ignition-which is extremely dangerous.
Once firefighters complete the burn-off, the faulty valve can be replaced by the gas company in a safe manor.
About a dozen apartments have been temporarily evacuated as a precaution but no injuries have been reported. A1A is closed in both directions and will reopen once the hazard has been completely mitigated.