February 13th , 2014 10:00 am Leave a comment

Chilling forecast leads to life in the propane lane

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Photo by Brandon Hicks

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Larry and Terry’s manager Kent Buckles fills a customer’s propane tank on Wednesday morning before the snow started to fall.

Vehicles lined the side of U.S. Highway 19E throughout Wednesday morning.

It wasn’t a traffic accident that slowed traffic.

Nor did icy streets cause the backup.

Instead, it was a line of customers waiting to get their propane tanks topped off to make sure their homes would be heated during the duration of the major snow storm that was zeroing in on the area.

Kent Buckles, manager of Larry and Terry’s, said customers were lined up outside the business even before it opened Wednesday at 9 a.m.

From the time the business opened until shortly before noon, Buckles said around 50 customers had been served. The line of waiting people was expected to remain throughout the day.

At noon, 15 vehicles were waiting to receive propane.

“When the line was at its longest, it was so far that I couldn’t see the end of it,” Buckles said. “It is not like this very often. It is only like this when people get scared because of the forecasts.”

He said customers also lined up on Tuesday, but the lines were not as long as what employees were handling on Wednesday.

Larry Jenkins drove to Larry and Terry’s Wednesday morning from Johnson City to stock up on propane. He said he waited in line for an hour and 15 minutes before it was his turn at the pump.

“I get it as a backup heat supply,” Jenkins said. “I use gas heat, but I use propane in the basement to keep the pipes warm. You don’t want them to freeze.”

Elizabethton resident Josh Hubbard said he waited for 45 minutes to top off his propane tanks.

“It is for backup,” he said. “We need it, so we had to wait to get it.”

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