In the last few weeks, the stadtwerke lichtenfels was called out twice because of a gas smell. The on-call service then went out to find out if natural gas was responsible for the smell. In both cases the meters of the public utilities were triggered, but gas pipes were not the culprits. "The smell of our natural gas is similar to that of rotten eggs, so we can recognize it well", says christian lotz, pipe network manager at the lichtenfels municipal utility company. The staff of the 24-hour on-call service are specifically trained for this purpose.
The reason for the smell of gas in each of these cases was a gas cartridge filled with butane gas. It is forbidden to store gas cartridges and cylinders with liquefied petroleum gas in cellar rooms.
Gas can escape
Because the danger posed by such containers is enormous. "If cartridges and containers are stored for a long time, they start to leak. That's when the gas escapes", describes christian lotz the process. "When it escapes, a gas-air mixture is formed that is highly explosive, and it also reacts in the same way in the heat."
When there are cellar fires, we often don't know what to expect there. If such substances escape, the emergency workers can be injured by the explosion with splinters or by a blast trauma", says district fire chief timm vogler.
The danger of these substances is that even a slight leakage is enough to trigger an explosion, emphasizes christian lotz. "Containers with little content are always more dangerous than full containers", he adds. And also the older they are, the more dangerous they are.
These materials always stay on the ground, so that you only notice them late. Therefore, storage below ground level is prohibited: "in cellar rooms such materials may not be stored. It must be supernatural", christian lotz explains.
What must not be stored in the cellar is easy to recognize: "everything marked with a yellow-orange warning symbol must not be stored in the cellar", explains timm vogler. This includes fire accelerant, barbecue tinder, brake cleaner, de-icer, gas stoves and also spray cans, paint and gas bottles for the barbecue.
"Gas barbecue bottles must be removed from the barbecue and stored with the cap closed. But not in the basement", says christian lotz.
"Many underestimate the danger that can arise, but it is easy to avoid it", says lotz. Everyone should go to their cellar and see what hazardous materials are lying around and are usually no longer needed. "The problem garbage collectors will take care of the disposal. There, the things can be handed in and disposed of by expert staff", says timm vogler, who also left his stuff there himself. "I was amazed at how much of it I had myself." dates for the problem garbage collection can be found on the internet site of the district of lichtenfels.
"If such materials are nevertheless stored, then professionally above ground and also not with the car in the garage. And you should regularly check the porosity of the keepers", says Christian Lotz.
"We don't want to scare people that gas is dangerous, but it is important to raise awareness, emphasizes timm vogler. Rough gas explosions usually only happen when manipulation is involved.