Nisland, SD- NISLAND — Al Vandarwarka was installing a propane heater in his home on Sept. 28 when his wife, Mary Vandarwarka, tried to light a cigarette. The combination of propane gas and the cigarette lighters spark caused an explosion and fire that leveled the couples Nisland home and sent them to the hospital.
Nisland Fire Chief and Butte County Deputy Sheriff Gary Brunner said Wednesday the fire was accidental. He read from the fire marshals report stating that Al Vandarwarka was working on the heater, a task he performed every year.
The heater was connected to the 500-gallon propane tank outside the couples home, and the heaters valve was open, Brunner said. Mary Vandarwarka was in the bedroom when she lit a butane lighter in an attempt to smoke a cigarette.