October 31, 1996 in Washington Voices

Leaking Propane Explodes, Burns Man On Face, Arms

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A man who was remodeling his home was burned late Friday when the propane heater he was using to warm a room suddenly unleashed a ball of fire.

Fire investigators said 28-year-old Troy Vincent was lucky his injuries weren’t more severe than the first- and second-degree burns he suffered to his hands, arms and face.

Vincent was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center where he was listed in satisfactory condition late Tuesday, a hospital spokesman said.

A friend who was helping Vincent convert his garage into recreation room was not injured.

A faulty connection between the five-gallon propane tank and the hose that connected it to a heater appears to have caused the fire, said Eric Olson, Valley Fire deputy fire marshal.

Vincent was standing on stilts to tape drywall at about 10:20 p.m., when “a ball of fire rose up and went into (his) face,” according to a Valley Fire report.

The force of the blast knocked the two men over. Both crawled to the door, which was wedged shut by an extension cord that ran underneath. They escaped after Vincent’s girlfriend opened the door from the other side, Olson said.

One of Vincent’s friends used a fire extinguisher to douse the flames before firefighters arrived.

The heater and propane tank were positioned in the middle of the room. Ideally, the tank should be outside the house with the hose running in through a door or window to allow any excess gas to dissipate, Olson said.

The fire did minimal damage to the room. Paint on the ceiling above the heater bubbled only slightly and a light fixture in the ceiling also was damaged.

The rest of the house was not damaged, although the smoke and propane smell carried inside.

, DataTimes


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email