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Published: July 28, 2008 11:42 pm ShareThisPrintThis
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Mobile home park evacuated when car backs over propane tank
By Matthew K. Roy
Staff Writer

PEABODY - A driver of a station wagon accidentally knocked over a full, 100-gallon propane tank yesterday and caused a brief evacuation of a mobile home park on Route 1 south.
The car, driven by Thomas F. O'Leary of 278 Newbury St., Lot 36, accelerated in reverse, became wedged between a utility shed and mobile home, and rolled on top of the tank, which was servicing his home in the Whispering Meadows mobile home park at 278 Newbury St., just south of Circuit City.
"Apparently, (the driver) must have mistook the accelerator for the brake," Deputy fire Chief James Coughlin said.
The crash, which occurred just after 1 p.m., rattled the nerves of a family in a nearby home.
"We heard a big crash and looked out the back door, and there was a car sitting on top of a gas tank," said John Piotrowski, 17. "We ran out to see what happened, and I called 911 immediately."
Piotrowski and about eight family members were inside with his aunt, who has "hours to live," he said. She is suffering from pancreatic cancer and was taken by ambulance to a safe spot until the accident scene could be cleared.
"I could smell the gas right away," Piotrowski said. "You could smell gas for a good 10 minutes afterwards."
Coughlin said that the gas was promptly shut off. The tank was dented but "pretty stable."
A crane truck was used to move the car off the propane tank. The close proximity of the car's gas tank to the propane tank made it a tenuous process, according to Coughlin.
"We had to be very careful," he said.
Coughlin credited the work of Phil's Towing and employees from Holden Oil who removed the propane tank.
O'Leary was extricated through the back windshield, which had shattered, Coughlin said.

This station wagon accidentally knocked over a full 100-gallon propane tank yesterday and caused a brief evacuation of the Whispering Meadows mobile home park on Route 1 south.
None / Courtesy photo
 
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