Why fuel tanks in Vegas didn’t blow after Paddock’s bullets hit

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Two stray bullets shot by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock connected with a large jet fuel tank at McCarran International airport in Las Vegas Sunday evening. The shots did not cause an explosion, and many people are wondering why not.

Airport authorities wouldn’t speculate on whether Paddock meant to hit the tank, but spokesman Chris Jones said there is a very small chance the bullets, regardless of distance and velocity of gunfire, would’ve caused the tank to explode.

He said jet fuel is combustible but not a flammable liquid easily detonated by gunfire. Also, the tank is designed to vent any suddenly occurring flames into the air, as opposed to blowing out the tank walls.

Mike Boyd, a Colorado-based aviation consultant agreed with that assessment. “A machine gun is not going to blow up a tank of fuel,” Boyd said. “Jet fuel itself sitting there in a big wet pile is very hard to ignite. You have to be a very amateur terrorist to think anything like that.”

The tank is still being drained and investigated as a precaution, authorities said.

Firing from his 32nd floor Mandalay Bay resort hotel room, Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds of others who were attending the Route 91 Country Music festival in Las Vegas. The mass shooting is classified as the deadliest in US history.

Authorities continue to search for motive. Paddock, who was a multi-millionaire and an avid gambler, did not leave a digital footprint for investigators to follow. The ongoing investigation continues to launch more questions about Paddock, and why he decided to kill his fellow Americans.

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