50m cordon at Tesco petrol station in Westwood due to ‘vapour leak’

Emergency services have set up a 50m cordon which is causing some traffic backlog Photo Penny Weeks

Kent Fire & Rescue Service and Kent Police were on the scene at Tesco petrol station at Westwood today (August 26) dealing with ‘a vapour leak from an underground fuel storage tank.’

Emergency services were asking people to avoid the area as a precautionary measure.

Firefighters were called to reports of the vapour leak  at 4.33pm. Three fire engines attended along with Kent Police, South East Coast Ambulance service and engineers from the fuel company are en-route.

Photo Dante Luca

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used firefighting foam and misting from high-pressure hose reels to help prevent the vapour spreading. A 50 metre cordon was set up around the scene as a precaution.

The cordon was shortly reduced to just the perimeter of the filling station once the risk decreased, however it will remain until engineers can arrive to repair the leaking valve.

One person was treated by paramedics after breathing in fumes from the vapour.

*KFRS issued an update at 7pm. Initially the cause was listed as a leaking fuel tank but has now been verified that this was a vapour leak


  1. A vapour leak and a petrol leak are in essence the same thing- because liquid petroleum vapourises quickly & readily when it reaches the atmosphere. Actually, it is the vapour that is the real problem. As the LEL (lower explosive limit) of petroleum vapour is about 1.8% in air, a small amount of petroleum vapour can cause a very big bang indeed. The HEL is about 5% or so. Fire fighting foam, and misting …. Well, foam/misting can slow down vapourisation of liquid petrol, but that is counterproductive when really you’re looking for quick dispersal- at least once you’ve stopped the leak. Anyway, if I was to guess from the very limited info’, I’d reckon the problem relates to the tank vent pipes.

  2. People get enough Vapours seeing the prices in the Supermarkets these days, now you are getting them on the way in.

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