Flat, TX – KCEN – Fire investigators say it happened after the 27-year-old lit his propane heater as outside temperatures dropped into the 20s.
Rekindling flames and charred metal is all that’s left of his mobile home in Flat, about ten miles southeast of Gatesville. It exploded Wednesday evening, blowing out the windows. The blast was so powerful, they landed 20 feet away.
Next-door neighbor Andy Jackson ran out of the house when he heard the explosion.
“A loud boom — it sounded like Fort Hood or something exploded right next to the house,” he says. “The whole wall came out, and he fell out from underneath the wall. He didn’t even come out the door.”
The 27-year-old man inside was burned from head to toe. He had just finished lighting his propane heater. Fire crews arrived on the scene a few moments later, but it was already too late.
“They started putting water to it and decided to just let it burn,” says Flat firefighter Duffie Riddle. “There was no way of saving it.”
And fire officials say beware — this could happen to almost any home if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
As he sifted through the rubble, Gatesville fire chief Billy Vaden offered some safety tips.
“Starting up your heater, you should check your filters,” he says.
Vaden adds you should also clean out your vents. Smells can also be sign of danger — in this case, Vaden says the victim smelled gas right before the explosion. And Vaden says you should always invest in a carbon monoxide detector.
“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, and its produced by the flames of any fire,” he says.
Fire officials also advise you to never sleep near a space heater or open fireplace.