Updated: ‘Strong Gas Odor’ From Leaking 1,000-Gallon Propane Tank in Rockville Causes Montgomery College Evacuation, Road Closures

Montgomery County fire departments officials declare gas contained by early Thursday afternoon; Metro and train service resumes


Via Google Maps

Updated at 1:30 p.m. Thursday: A leaking 1,000-gallon propane tank caused a “strong gas odor” in a wide area of Rockville on Thursday morning, leading to precautionary evacuations at Montgomery College, road closures and suspended train service. After several hours, the gas was contained and the incident ended without injuries or fire breaking out, the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service announced shortly before 1 p.m. 

Metro and other train service was expected to resume after being halted for several hours while hazmat crews worked on controlling the leak.

Earlier Thursday, MCFRS spokesman Pete Piringer said in a message to media that crews had been called to Suburban Propane at 31 Derwood Circle at about 9:45 a.m. and discovered a propane tank with its valve “sheared off.” He later tweeted that the removal had occurred during a "maintenance process." 

Based on other 911 calls, MCFRS determined the gas odor had spread to a “fairly wide area,” he said. Montgomery College evacuated its Rockville campus because of the gas, and Metro suspended Red Line train service between Twinbrook and Shady Grove. The leaking propane tank was near Metro tracks. CSX trains were also stopped in the area.

Roads were closed in the area, but main routes remained open.

At the time, Piringer said hazmat crews were working to control the leak and did not believe there was a danger.

“We would ask people to avoid the area if they could,” Piringer said.

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