CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A leaking propane tank is believed to have caused an explosion that destroyed a home and sent neighbors running.
The explosion in the home in the 21600 block of Hill Street in South Chesterfield was so intense, people living blocks away could feel it shaking their homes.
"We were sitting at the kitchen table and we heard a bang, so we ran outside," described Gage Elder, who felt the explosion shake his home. He added, "It started as a small fire but quickly the propane tank hit and all you saw one hundred feet in the air was flames."
Emergency responders found the propane tank, destroyed and lodged in the garage next to the home. Assistant Chief John Boatwright said they believe the cause was the tank leaking and building up fumes, which ignited on Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters were sitting at a station just two streets away when the tank blew. "The crew felt the explosion. It shook the building. They came outside and quickly mounted the apparatus before the first dispatch even came in," said Assistant Chief Boatwright.
Flames weren't the only thing they had to fight. "When the fire burned through the roof, we lost the power to the house. The electrical power d ropped through the house, which energized the metal fence," explained Assistant Chief Boatwright.
Responding crews quickly realized how dangerous the situation was, with electricity running through a metal fence in the yard. Crews had to cut the lines, with many neighbors losing electricity for about thirty minutes. "They chose a defensive attack where they put a large volume of water on top to knock down the fire from the outside, instead of sending people into peril inside," said the Assistant Chief.
The immediate fear was if someone was inside the home. A woman in her seventies lives there alone with her dog, a home her family says she's had for more than 50 years. She just happened to be out of town on Sunday, a trip which saved her life
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