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July 21, 2005.
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Storage of Gasoline

Fire Code Opinions

Part 4: Storage of Gasoline at a private residence

  1. I have obtained a small electrical generator for my residence. What quantity of gasoline am I permitted to store and what precautions must I take?

  1. I have obtained a small electrical generator for my residence. What quantity of gasoline am I permitted to store and what precautions must I take?

    Gasoline is a Class 1 flammable liquid. If it is being stored in the actual residence or dwelling unit, then Article 4.2.4.5. restricts the quantity that can be stored to not more than 10 L. If it is being stored in a garage or shed attached to a dwelling unit, then Article 4.2.4.6. restricts the quantity that can be stored to not more than 30 L.

    The Fire Code does not have any requirements for the quantity of gasoline that can be stored in a garage or shed associated with a residence and is not attached to the dwelling unit. If you plan to store gasoline in such a structure, we recommend that it be located not less than 3m from any other building or property line.

    Article 4.2.3.1. of the Fire Code states that containers for flammable or combustible liquids shall be built in conformance with one of the following:

    1. the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Canada),

    2. CSA-B376, "Portable Containers for Gasoline and Other Petroleum Fuels",

    3. CSA-B306, "Portable Fuel Tanks for Marine Use",

    4. ULC/ORD-C30, "Safety Containers", or

    5. Section 6 of CSA-B620, "Highway Tanks and Portable Tanks for the Transportation of Dangerous Goods".

    Note that Section 8 of the Gasoline Handling Code also has requirements for acceptable containers,

    Subsection 4.1.7. of the Fire Code has requirements for ventilation which apply to all occupancies regardless of the quantity of flammable or combustible liquid being stored. However, Sentence 4.1.7.2.(2) states that ventilation is not required for the storage of Class 1 liquids provided that the storage consists only of closed containers and no dispensing operations are performed. This means the generator cannot be refueled in the room where the gasoline is stored. (Both for fire safety reasons and to reduce potential problems from carbon monoxide, the generator should be located outside unless it is located in a room or building specifically designed for a fuel-fired appliance.)

    Subsection 4.1.6. of the Fire Code requires that means be provided to contain any spill of gasoline that might occur. To limit the size of a spill, we recommend that the gasoline be stored in containers that do not exceed 25 L in size. The containment could take the form of a noncombustible, liquid-tight floor with a curb. Alternatively, the gasoline containers can be placed in a noncombustible, liquid tight pan or tray of sufficient capacity to contain the contents of the largest container.

    We recommend that a fire extinguisher with a rating of at least 10 BC be located within 9 m of the gasoline storage area.

    Regardless of the quantity of gasoline stored, sources of ignition should be strictly controlled.

    To deter vandalism (or theft) the gasoline should be stored in a building or other enclosure which can be secured against unauthorized entry.

    Also note that if the quantity or method of storage of gasoline being stored outside a building is considered to constitute a hazard then Subsection 4.2.1 1. Outdoor Container Storage can be applied.

    If the quantity or method of storage of gasoline being stored inside a building associated with a residence but not attached to the dwelling unit, is considered to constitute a hazard then the issuance of a Fire Marshals Order may be appropriate.