Home explosions occur far too frequently in the United States.
They’re simply – and unfortunately – unavoidable. Set a Google alert for “home explosion,” and your inbox will be inundated with updates.
Here is a look at two recent home explosions in the western part of the country:
Breckenridge home explosion
injures two; house destroyed
From the Summit Daily News: Two men were injured early Wednesday morning after a massive Breckenridge home explosion. Breckenridge is a popular resort town of about 5,000 known for its skiing; it’s 80 miles west of Denver.
Just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District received a number of calls regarding an explosion on Royal Tiger Road, northeast of the town center.
“Coming into the scene, we had a large volume of fire from the address,” said battalion chief Drew Hoehn, who was one of the first firefighters on the scene. “It appeared to look like a bonfire; there wasn’t any visible structure. As I passed the scene to get a clear picture of the incident, we had debris in the roadway, glass and stools. So I immediately assumed we had an explosion, which we ultimately did.”
There were two men sleeping inside the house at the time of the Breckenridge home explosion. One was taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, 10 miles north, with a broken arm, burns, and abrasions. The other was transported to a hospital in Denver with a more severe back injury. Hoehn said both men have since been released.
Given the magnitude of the blast and the subsequent fire, the fact that both men were able to walk away was fortunate. There’s now a huge black crater about 3 feet deep into the ground where the house once stood.
“Fortunately we didn’t have any fatalities, and they both made it out, unbelievably,” Hoehn said.
Representatives with Red, White and Blue said they believe the explosion was caused after ice on the roof of the house slid down and broke the natural gas line, filling the house with gas and igniting.
“From our early investigations, when we were able to get the fire out and get in closer to the scene and dig through the debris, we did find that either an ice dam or large amount of snow slid off the roof, came down and wedged in between the gas meter and the house,” said Jim Keating, chief at Red, White and Blue. “And in doing so it snapped the meter completely off, which allowed the gas to escape. The gas worked its way into the home, found an ignition source and this is what you see in the aftermath.”
Snow safety has been a priority for Red, White and Blue. The district has been warning homeowners and businesses throughout the season to clear off snow from roofs and around gas meters to prevent incidents like this.
McCall home explosion
caused by propane buildup
From the Idaho Statesmen: Idaho State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl released his findings regarding the cause of a McCall home explosion last month that killed one man and seriously injured a teenage girl.
The March 17 fire occurred at 910 Fairway Drive, near the McCall Golf Course, leaving a crater. Sandahl said the 3,000-square-foot house exploded because a buildup of propane in a crawl space was ignited by the home’s furnace, which had been relocated to the ground floor.
Jonathan Robinson Field Jr., 69, of McCall, died in the explosion. Valley County coroner Scott Carver said Field died as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest, not the fire or inhalation of gas or smoke.
Sandahl said two McCall firefighters, Jon Metz and Jason Beck, were nearby running errands when the explosion occurred and responded with only their protective clothing and a pressurized-water fire extinguisher. The firefighters headed to the scene before the explosion was even reported because they saw and heard it.
“Their actions, in my opinion, are the reason why this young lady was able to survive this horrific event,” Sandahl said.
No other information was provided on the injured girl.
Elliot Olsen has decades of experience representing people harmed in fires and explosions. You can contact him for a free consultation by filling out the following form and submitting it: