Pembroke, MA – By CASEY ROSS
The Patriot Ledger
PEMBROKE – John Moore stood in the dark and stared at the remains of his home. The roof and walls had collapsed and his belongings were buried in the rubble. Only a hammock was still standing.
As neighbors gathered around, his cell phone rang.
How are you doing?” a friend asked.I’m homeless.”
Moore’s house was blown apart yesterday by a propane explosion that shook his quiet waterfront neighborhood, near the Hanson border, and sent flames leaping onto neighbors’ houses.
Firefighters contained the blaze before other houses were significantly damaged, but they could do little for Moore, who was planning to finalize the sale of his house next month.
The explosion ripped through Moore’s 83 Fairview Ave. home at about 12:25 p.m., blowing at least two of his windows into the pond and rattling pictures off neighbors’ walls. Moore’s two cats could not be found.
The explosion was probably caused by the cats rubbing against a propane valve in the house, an official said today.
The fire marshal’s theory is that the cats were the only beings in there for the previous 36 hours, and that while at at play they may have hit it, releasing the propane,” Pembroke Deputy Fire Chief George Emanuel said.
Emanuel said the state fire marshal’s office has come up with what they believe to be the location of the gas leak, which was an uncapped propane line that went to an old propane heater. The heater was no longer in the house.
The control valve to the line was partially open, allowing propane to flow into the first floor area of the two-story house,” Emanuel said. The fire marshal has ruled that the refrigerator fan was the ignitor.
One neighbor said Moore’s house, a 1½-story ranch, collapsed almost immediately after the blast.
I heard a loud boom and the house was totally leveled when I came outside,” Tim Hart of 87 Fairview Ave. said. It was less than 10 seconds.”
Although Pembroke fire officials said the explosion appeared accidental, an investigation is ongoing.
Local and state fire officials remained at the scene until nightfall, talking to neighbors and bulldozing debris as part of the investigation.
Moore was resting at his fiancée’s house with the flu when his mother phoned at about 12:30 p.m. He drove home and found a debris-cluttered lot where his house used to be.
The roof of the house was on the ground as though it had been smashed down by a giant fist and the walls had been blown out. Everything else was splintered, bent or broken.