Construction crews evacuated after indoor leak of acetylene

Hastings Fire and Rescue responds to acetylene leak at Mary Lanning construction site.
Hastings Fire and Rescue responds to acetylene leak at Mary Lanning construction site.(Hastings Fire and Rescue)
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 7:21 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings Fire & Rescue was dispatched to a construction site after reports of an indoor leak on Thursday.

HFR was dispatched to the construction site at Mary Lanning Healthcare Medical Services Building on North Kansas Avenue in Hastings at 1:45 p.m.

Initial reports said there was an indoor leak of acetylene which is an extremely flammable gas used in cutting and welding operations.

When HFR arrived, fire crews learned that all construction crews followed their emergency plan and had already evacuated the building.

HFR said hose lines were established and crews entered the building with air monitoring equipment.

Crews were able to quickly locate the acetylene bottle and turn the valve off.

The building was also checked for any explosive atmosphere and carbon monoxide was ventilated from the building.

One construction worker was treated by paramedics for minor burn injuries that he sustained from a flash fire, a short-duration ball of flame that occurred when he tried to close the valve on the bottle, and static discharge from his hand ignited the acetylene. He was later released by paramedics.

Ten firefighters were on the scene for an hour and a half.

Hastings Fire Marshal Anthony Murphy said this is a good reminder of the importance of emergency planning and preparedness, especially on buildings under construction.

HFR said other appropriate safeguards for construction sites include: maintaining fire lane access, the proper placement of fire extinguishers, prohibiting smoking in areas with combustibles, and following permit requirements for hot work, tar kettles, and onsite fuel and gas storage.

For more information on permit requirements or other safety concerns, contact your local fire department.