Athens Review, Athens, Texas

May 8, 2013

Propane leak caused explosion

Fire Marshal: Men inside house injured, but could have been killed

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — A propane leak caused the explosion of a home in Cherokee Shores, Monday night, that injured two men and scattered debris more than 120 feet.

Interim Henderson County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg said the men who were inside the small  white house at 175 Chillacothe Trail, are recovering at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

The victims were fortunate that the explosion originated under the house, because the floor shielded them from some of the force of the blast.

“I’m just glad no one was more seriously hurt,” Renberg said.

Renberg said he is not releasing the names of the victims until out-of-state family members can be notified, but said they are elderly, in their upper 60s or early 70s.  A woman, who lived at the residence, was not present when the building blew up.

Renberg said propane from the leak had accumulated under the house, and was trapped there. Propane gas is heavier than air and settles. Renberg is not sure of the ignition source, but said there are several possibilities.

A secondary explosion, involving oxygen followed the initial blast. Renberg said that was the reason for a white flame that was seen coming from the structure.

“The Payne Springs Fire Department did a great job with the fire, and were helpful with the investigation,” Renberg said. “Those two gentlemen could have been in a lot more trouble if they hadn’t been there.”

Renberg said the investigation at the scene is essentially complete.