Odor leads to gas cans stashed in hotel during fuel shortage, Louisiana officials say

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Fire officials in one Louisiana city are urging caution after a hotel guest was caught stashing cans of gasoline in their room.

A gaseous odor led firefighters to the Residence Inn hotel in Covington on Thursday, according to the St. Tammany Parish Fire Department. Crews traced the smell to a room where a guest was storing gas cans amid a fuel shortage affecting much of the Southeast.

“We urge everyone to practice safety when storing gasoline,” fire officials wrote on Facebook. “Please do not store gas inside. Gas must be stored in a well ventilated area and in proper containers.”

We are currently on scene of the Residence Inn in Covington for a report of a smell of gas inside. After an...

Posted by St. Tammany Fire District #12 on Thursday, May 13, 2021

A shortage driven by panic buying after a cybersecurity attack on one of the nation’s largest fuel lines sent people flocking to the pumps. In an update Thursday, the Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline said “product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service,” but cautioned that it could be a few days until things return to normal.

Louisiana is already seeing improvements in terms of availability; there were no gas outages reported in the state as of Thursday afternoon, according to fuel pricing and reporting website GasBuddy.com.

Motorists aren’t as lucky in Georgia, where nearly 50% of stations are still without fuel. More than 50% of stations are depleted across North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C., according to GasBuddy.

When it comes to storing gas, safety experts recommend that fuel only be kept in an approved gas can or tank, up to 5 gallons. The container should be sealed tightly and stored at least 50 feet from heat and ignition sources, according to ExxonMobil.

“Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can travel along the floor to ignition sources,” according to the gas company’s website.

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