City ordinance forces some residents to get rid of propane tanks - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City ordinance forces some Lubbockites to get rid of their propane tanks

By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Some Lubbock residents will be forced to search for an alternative heat source this December. Residents in Camelot Village and RV Park say the City of Lubbock told them to remove their large propane tanks by December 8th because of a city ordinance.

The Deputy Fire Marshal said large propane tanks were never permitted inside the Lubbock city limits. According to the city ordinance, liquefied petroleum gas is illegal to transfer within the city. This ordinance has been in effect since 1955 and was revised in 1983. Only now is it being enforced. Residents are scrambling to figure out how they will heat their homes after a 30 day notice was issued for them to remove their tanks. "They posted this notice on all of our trailers that have the 100 gallon tanks or anything that's not manufactured for the trailer," said Renessa Gerhardt, Camelot Village and RV Park resident.

"It's very bad timing for everybody living in RV parks because this is how we survive, on the propane, during the winter," said Gerhardt.

Residents in Camelot Village and RV Park say they use large propane tanks to heat their homes, cook, and provide electricity; and the tanks last nearly a month.

What was once their main source for long term heat will no longer be an option; and those that plan to travel home for the holidays are worried. "If you have to leave your RV here for a long period of time, you can't do that because your tanks are limited that are attached to your trailer," said Sims.

"All lot of us are upset because these small propane tanks only last a week, and after the week, if you're not here to change them or have them refilled, your pipes freeze during the middle of the winter. Once your pipes freeze, you have no home," said Gerhardt.

An investigator with the Fire Marshal's office, Robert Loveless, said he is now enforcing the 55-year-old ordinance because it is dangerous to transfer gas from tank to tank in a neighborhood. "That's the problem bringing it into a concentrated area like that where we know we've got open ignition sources and we've got tanks that have been set after the fact that were not part of the original structure," said Deputy Fire Marshal, Robert Loveless.

Loveless said having propane tanks small enough to carry is it less of a hazard, unlike larger propane tanks. "I know it's kind of an inconvenience, but that's the way we have to do things to keep it safe for the entire city," said Loveless.

Residents said they've never had a problem before with propane tanks and although it's a concern, they said other options are worse. "We could get space heaters, but most of us think they're more dangerous than propane tanks," said Gerhardt.

"The other option I'm looking into is having to move out of the City of Lubbock completely. So it's going to cause me to drive longer during the winter time to school," said Sims.

Residents in the Camelot Village and RV Park said some people have moved out of the area because of this issue. Others plan to go to City Council and bring up this recently-enforced ordinance to them. However, the Deputy Fire Marshal said the ultimate solution is to connect each trailer to gas lines, otherwise, keep using small propane tanks.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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