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Fire Marshal Clarification on Filling of Propane Containers in Buildings

 

In response to a series of inquiries from PMCI members regarding the regulatory requirements for the filling of portable propane cylinders at public and private facilities, PMCI reached out to the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s State Fire Marshal’s office for clarification.  The Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office has adopted the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 58, 2014 Edition (Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code). This code shall apply to the storage, handling, transportation, and use of liquefied petroleum gas (LP-Gas), and the Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 661-226.  NFPA Standards may be purchased here.

Member inquiries have focused on two primary issues of concern.  The first issue is whether portable cylinders may be filled inside building structures.  The answer is no, liquid shall be transferred into containers, including containers mounted on vehicles, only outdoors or in structures specially designed for such purpose.  The transfer of liquid into containers mounted on vehicles shall not take place within a building but shall be permitted to take place under a weather shelter or canopy.

The second issue of concern raised by members takes up the issue of the setback requirements for the filling of portable containers outside of a building or structure.  NFPA Chapter 58, table 6.7.2.1 addresses the Distance Between Point of Transfer and Exposure requirements:

Part

Exposure Type

Minimum Horizontal Distance

A

Buildings, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, modular homes with at least 1-hour fire rated walls

10ft

B

Buildings with other than at least 1-hour fire-rated walls

25ft

C

Building wall openings or pits at or below the level of the point of transfer

25ft

D

Line of adjoining property that can be built upon

25ft

E

Outdoor places of public assembly, including schoolyards, athletic fields, and playgrounds

50ft

F

Public ways, including public streets, highways, thoroughfares, and sidewalks

  1. From points of transfer for LP-Gas Dispensing system
  2. From other points of transfer

50ft

 

10ft

 

25ft

G

Driveways

5ft

H

Mainline railroad track centerlines

25ft

I

Containers other than being filled

10ft

J

Flammable and Class II combustible liquid dispensers and the fill connections of containers

10ft

K

Flammable Class II combustible liquid aboveground containers and filling connections of underground containers

20ft

L

Stored or accumulated combustible materials

10ft

 

In addition to inquiries received by PMCI, both state and local Fire Marshal personnel have received questions and complaints surrounding the filling of LP containers at or near public and private facilities.  It’s likely that the requirements contained in NFPA 58 will be a point of emphasis for state and local fire marshal personnel over the coming months.

Fuel Standards and Guidance State

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