Questions that Provo City won’t answer about Christensen Oil

Questions we have never gotten a clear answer from Provo City Staff on — we would invite the media to ask these questions of Provo City Staff:

1) How many gallons of gasoline are stored at Christensen Oil on an average day? How much is in aluminum trucks, and how much in steel tanks?

2) What is the evacuation radius for a catastrophic fire at Christensen Oil? The evacuation radius for a Methanol fire is 1/2 mile (to University Ave and Center St.). What is the evacuation radius for a Methanol fire next to 150,000 gallons of gasoline? It will certainly be larger! See page 196 of the USDOT’s Emergency Response Guidebook

3) How long would it take to evacuate the area if a fire occurred while people are sleeping? How many elderly people and infants live in the evacuation area, and how long would it take to get them all evacuated?

4) If a catastrophic fire occurred (several gasoline tanker trucks catching fire) what is the radius of devastation incurred by the ensuing fire? 1 block? 3 blocks? 5 blocks?

5) Fire Chief Jim Miguel has stated that he can’t enforce the fire code to the extent that it impacts a business’s viability. Where is he getting this mandate from?

6) Why does Christensen Oil’s operation have so much combustible clutter everywhere, and tanks squeezed in between buildings and homes, when the most of the other major bulk petroleum facilities have clean yards, with clear areas around the tanks storing gasoline and oil?

Two have cramped, cluttered yards. Christensen is next to homes:
Rhinhart/Parkland (American Fork):

The rest all have clear areas, and no homes, near their facilities.
Honstien (Provo):
Reladyne (Midvale):
Thomas (North Salt Lake):
Keller Strass (Ogden):
Reladyne (Brigham City):
Pilot/Thomas (Logan):

7) Why won’t Provo Fire and Rescue enforce even the most simple, obvious fire code violations, such as wooden pallets stored too close to other materials on site?

8) Fire Marshal Lynn Schofield asserts that it is very difficult to start a tank of oil on fire. Why won’t he consider that a half-full tank is full of a combustible mixture of air and oil vapor, and can catch fire much more easily than a tank completely full of liquid?

For instance, a “sky lantern” ignited a grass fire, which ignited fumes and caused this gasoline tank to burn in Korea.

9) The “tent” used to store combustible liquids has an open building permit. But city inspectors have not required the sheet metal covering of the tent to be removed, or the combustible liquids stored inside to be removed, per Building Code and Fire Code requirements. Why not? [link to 2019 “tent” complaint]

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