Government regulators have issued an emergency order mandating a recall of cylinders manufactured by The Lite Cylinder Company and terminated the Tennessee company's authority to re-qualify and manufacture DOT cylinders. The company is insolvent, however, and cannot receive any returns.
The emergency order was issued in May after an investigation by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration revealed unsafe conditions and practices. The emergency order mandated more than 55,000 two-piece fully wrapped fiber composite cylinders be removed from service. These composite cylinders are commonly used as portable fuel tanks for liquefied petroleum gas.
Billing its product as “revolutionary propane cylinders,” Lite Cylinder is among several companies producing fiberglass composite LPG tanks for the marine market. These tanks are lighter than metal tanks and, in some cases, translucent enough to allow visual inspection to determine how much propane remains in the tank. The recall does not affect any of Lite’s former competitors.
According to the Tennessean newspaper, regulators noted several documented cases of when the cylinders on the company’s propane tanks had ruptured or failed, including one instance that caused injuries to people in the Dominican Republic and another instance that damaged a gas grill in New Jersey. In October, the safety administration suspended Lite Cylinder’s permits to manufacture its propane tanks and proposed terminating its permits over the safety concerns.
Cylinders manufactured by Lite Cylinder with any of the following markings are subject to this recall:
- DOT-SP 14562
- DOT-SP 13105 (Only if manufactured by The Lite Cylinder Company. Cylinders manufactured by Composite Scandinavia [M0408] and marked with this number are not subject to the recall)
- Any cylinder requalified under requalification approval H706
- Any cylinder manufactured under M5729
Emergency orders are issued when PHMSA determines that the continued use of such an item would constitute an imminent hazard. Removal and recall of these composite cylinders is a serious safety matter that should be promptly addressed by cylinder owners, gas fillers, shippers and carriers of hazardous materials.
PHMSA's Hazardous Materials Information Center stands ready to assist anyone who has questions. The Info Center can be reached toll free at 800-467-4922.
The following is from a June 3 notice sent by Lite Cylinder to its dealers and customers:
Please be advised that The Lite Cylinder Company is no longer in business and is currently evaluating its legal options. The company’s facility is now closed and unable to receive cylinders returned per the instructions detailed in US DOT – PHMSA Emergency Order No. 2013-002. Furthermore, the company is financially insolvent and will not be able to recompense cylinder owners, dealers and distributors for the expenses incurred in complying with this Emergency Recall Order.
If you have any questions concerning the Emergency Recall Order you should contact John Heneghan, Regional Director, at (404) 832-1140, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Aaron Mitchell, Director Field Services Support, at (202) 366-4455, email@example.com.
This is what Lite employee Sheree Pierce wrote to accompany the official email:
Sending the below e-mail was the hardest thing I have had to do. I have worked with this company 9 years and have been the contact most of you have worked with. It was never the intention of this company for this to even remotely occur. We had some internal problems and PHMSA was working with us to get all this resolved. We did not ever feel any of you receiving this e-mail were in any danger. They wanted new management and new ownership.
We gave them all they asked for after being shut down for 8 months with no sales. We worked diligently to address any internal issues we had in the past that resulted in a failure in the field. After an incident which involved a cylinder that none of you have, they did the mandatory total recall of all cylinders ever made by Lite Cylinder.
All companies experience issues but I stand by this company and its product. Whether you were just a single order customer or one of our large customers it didn’t matter. I cherish you all. We all lose in this. On our side it’s our jobs and on your side it’s also financial. I would only hope that if Lite Cylinder could ever get past this recall all of you would still be our customers. Even though we won’t be here, we are appealing the recall but we don’t know what the outcome will be. I have enjoyed working with you and consider you my friends. May God bless each of you.