Christensen Oil – Storing Combustible Liquids Near Oil Storage Tanks

In summer, 2019, Christensen Oil was storing combustible liquids, wooden pallets, and other material within 25 feet of gasoline and oil storage tanks.  
The Maeser Neighborhood complained about this to the Fire Department.  

Christensen Oil stores combustible materials within 25' of a tank Provo Utah

Resolution — some materials have been moved farther away — the oil storage trailer, the wooden pallets, and many of the plastic barrels.  But some remain — plastic barrels on top of fueling stations, abandoned vehicles with rubber tires and wooden truck beds, and empty plastic barrels stored in a shipping container.  

Clear distance from oil and gasoline storage tanks
Observation: Between June 2018 and May 2019, Christensen Oil Co. has placed many combustible materials next to its main oil and gasoline storage tanks.

In 2018, the tanks were relatively clear to the west, east and south, with only a little clutter on the north.

Today, they are packed in with many different types of combustibles – parked vehicles, totes of lubricating oil, totes of diesel fuel, wooden pallets, empty (but not cleaned) totes that previously held oil, and shipping containers with unknown combustibles inside.

Christensen Oil Provo Utah Code Violation storing combustible materials near tanks.

This pile of stored supplies and combustible material makes a fire around the tanks much more likely to turn catastrophic. There is a mixture of highly flammable material stored in proximity with high flashpoint material that could catch fire and lead to a catastrophic series of escalations.

For instance, if the pallets caught fire, or if a pool of spilled gasoline caught fire, the resulting fire would melt the lube oil (Class III(B)) totes, and heat up the Class III(B) oil to its burning temperature of 300 degrees. With 8 totes of burning oil there would be enough BTUs of heat to put the gasoline tanks and piping at risk of melting, and then there would be 60,000 gallons of gasoline burning, which would incinerate 4 to 10 blocks of residential neighborhood.

The disorderly storage of combustible material around the tanks not only adds to fire risk, and fire spreading, but also reduces the options that firefighters have to extinguish or contain the fire. Storage of combustible material on all four sides not only adds to fire risk, but blocks visual and physical access to fight any fires.

Christensen Oil stores combustibles stores adjacent to tanks in Provo Utah

5004.11 Clearance from combustibles. The area surrounding an outdoor storage area or tank shall be kept clear of combustible material or vegetation for a minimum distance of 25 feet.

Oil and gasoline tank Requests:
Maintain a 25′ clear distance around the tanks. Move all stored vehicles, totes of diesel fuel, totes of lubrication oil, empty totes, wooden pallets, tanker trailers of petroleum products, and shipping containers of unknown contents more than 25′ from tanks.

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