Residents Evacuated After SUV Crashes Into Propane Tank

By Kendra Lyn and Greg Janda
|  Friday, Nov 8, 2013  |  Updated 5:51 PM CDT
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Garland police evacuated about 10 homes after a driver crashed into a propane tank Friday morning.

Kendra Lyn, NBC 5 News

Garland police evacuated about 10 homes after a driver crashed into a propane tank Friday morning.

Garland police evacuated about 10 homes after a driver crashed into a propane tank Friday morning.

According to Garland police, two vehicles crashed near the intersection of Belt Line Road and Crist Road at about 5:50 a.m. During the crash, one of the vehicles veered off of the road and struck a propane tank outside of a vacant home.

As a precaution, several homes along the 300 block of East Amberway Lane were evacuated by police due to the leak.

Noi Vong Pichohn had been heading to work on Belt Line Road when she said the driver of a car pulled out in front of her.

“I had come through this intersection, try to go straight to work,” said Pichohn. “I see what happens.  My car like, spins around.”

Pichohn's SUV ended up in a yard where she collided with a propane tank. In the dark, she didn't know what she had hit and planned to wait in her SUV until her husband arrived. 

Another driver who saw the crash understood the potential danger and pleaded with her to get out. The 300-lb propane tank had not caught fire, but was ruptured in the crash.

“I tried to open the door and he jumped and said, ‘Are you OK?’  I said, ‘Yes, I’m OK.’ I asked him, ‘Are you OK?’  He said, ‘Please ma'am, get out from the car,” Pichohn said.

“The way the SUV hit the tank, it tilted it some, which broke one of the valves loose.  Had it been knocked completely off, and a spark, that would've been a worse situation,” said Merrill Balanciere, with the Garland Fire Department.

Pichohn has a few scratches on her arm and bruises from the impact of the airbag, but she's OK.  She’s thankful for a quick thinking good Samaritan.

“He really tried to help me.  I was like, 'OK, thanks!'” Pichohn said.

Drivers were asked to avoid the intersection at Crist and Beltline while the leak was repaired.  The roadway has since reopened.

Both the fire and health departments are monitoring the air quality in the area. Meanwhile, the gas company removed the damaged tank.

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