Vehicle & Commercial Fire – 2401 W. Pancake Blvd.
At 4:44 pm Tuesday the Liberal Fire Department was dispatched to 2401 W. Pancake Blvd. for reports of a truck on fire in the parking lot.

As units were responding the 911 Communications Center began receiving multiple 911 calls reporting that the vehicle, building and dumpsters were on fire.

First arriving firefighters were able to confirm that the vehicle, a roadway striping vehicle, was fully engulfed and that fire had spread to the business and two dumpsters next to the building. The fire attack was complicated by the fact the two large propane cylinders mounted on the truck were involved. The upper cylinder was constantly venting through the relief valve and the second was periodically venting. The propane fire from the relief valves was venting directly onto the dumpsters and the corner of the building. Firefighters initially began using handlines and tank water to protect the building and simultaneously darken the truck fire. As a water supply was being established it was discovered that the fire hydrant on the property was damaged and rendered inoperable. At this point mutual aid from the Seward County Fire Department was requested and an alternate water supply from a different hydrant was established requiring the temporary closure of Western Ave. The fire was declared under control at 5:02 pm

The vehicle’s crew, store occupants and store employees were all able to safely evacuate with no injuries reported. The vehicle was a total loss and was subsequently towed to a safe area outside of town to allow the remaining propane in the upper tank to vent off through a burned-out valve. The building itself suffered significant damage to the exterior with no extension to the interior. There was also a significant amount of smoke in the building.

The fire investigation will be ongoing, but it is believed to be accidental in nature due to a mechanical failure. After overhaul and investigation all units cleared the scene at 9:07 pm.

Liberal Fire responded with a total of 12 personnel, two engines, one ladder truck and one utility vehicle. Also assisting at the scene were the Liberal Police Department Seward County Fire Department and Seward County EMS.

Additionally, the Fire Department would like to express appreciation to representatives from Southwest Gas for their response to provide information and expertise on controlling the propane leak caused by the fire.