It only took seven minutes for the entire Marketplace to evacuate after a propane gas leak was detected by maintenance staff on Tuesday morning, June 9, around 11:30 a.m.
Once the emergency alarm system was activated, employees and customers at every business in the Marketplace evacuated within seven minutes and the St. John Fire Department responded within 10 minutes, according to Marketplace officials.
Propane tanks on the third floor behind the office suites were filled by Antilles Gas the morning of June 9, and apparently were topped off too high. As the day heated up, the propane expanded, and eventually generated so much pressure the cover to the tank shot off into the air near where a welder was working on the roof.
Had a spark been ignited anywhere in the area, the incident could have easily turned devastating. Instead, maintenance officials set off the emergency alarm and notified authorities.
An Antilles representative inspected the tank shortly after the incident and The Marketplace was reopened for business within and hour. An official from Antilles was expected to conduct a full inspection of the tank and certify its safety.