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Propane leak forces evacuation


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POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2009

KIHEI, Maui » Hundreds of people were evacuated and traffic was redirected for several hours yesterday in the residential heart of the coastal town of Kihei, Maui, as a result of a propane leak on a tanker truck.

  ;  The evacuation took place shortly after an emergency call at 8:10 a.m. yesterday about the leak on the truck carrying about 2,200 gallons of propane on Halama Street, about 75 yards south of Waiohuli Street.

County officials said efforts to close the leaking valve on the Gas Co. tanker were unsuccessful.

Company spokeswoman Stephanie Ackerman said the truck was making a home delivery.

The propane truck was put onto a flatbed truck and taken by fire and police convoy shortly after 1:15 p.m. to the old Puunene Airport, where the gas was burned off.

Kihei resident Rose Pompeii said she had finished her shift at the Maui Humane Society and was going home when she heard about the roadblock.

Pompeii, who was having lunch at a sandwich shop, said she had not been able to tend to her birds and dogs as she usually does in the morning.

Alan Pedersen, who was evacuated from his home on Waiohuli Street, said at least a couple of hundred people left the area.

He said he spent several hours at a nearby friend's house. “;It turned out to be a porch party. It was nice, considering,”; he said.