Summit, OR- Neighbors said it sounded like thunder booming when a propane stove in a travel trailer exploded Wednesday afternoon, injuring one person.
Witnesses said a woman was cooking inside the trailer parked next to a mobile home when the fire and explosion occurred around 3 p.m. She ran screaming from the trailer to a neighbor’s home on Happy Hollow Road, where volunteers from the rural fire station cared for her until an ambulance arrived.
The regional 911 center received several calls from neighbors who reported that a woman had suffered severe burns on most of her body. The nearest ambulance, more than 20 miles away, responded from the Corvallis Fire Department.
The Corvallis crew took the woman to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, making a stop to change ambulances in Philomath, after experiencing electrical problems at the scene.
Citing patient confidentiality laws, emergency responders said they could not release the name of the 44-year-old woman.
Fire Chief Ed Young with the Blodgett-Summit Rural Fire Protection District said the cause of the explosion was a gas leak in the propane line ignited when the woman lit the pilot light on the stove.
The inside of the trailer was a total loss, he said. The explosion tore a hole in the back of the trailer and ripped the floor from the walls.
The fire caused only minor damage to the outside of the trailer, and the only thing found burning was a small dog bed, Young added.
The scene near the trailer afterward included household goods littered on the front lawn, where it appeared that the force of the blast had sent coffee filters and other items flying several yards outside the trailer. A view from Happy Hollow Road did not reveal any fire damage, and the trailer on the outside seemed to remain intact.
Family members of the woman followed the ambulance to the hospital, while other relatives and neighbors stayed at the scene and combed through the wreckage at 36842 Happy Hollow Road.
Several neighbors said they didn’t know what had happened after they first heard a loud boom. When they went outside, they heard a woman screaming and ran to help.
The trailer was parked on a lot less than a block from the rural fire station in Summit and several of the people who live nearby are trained emergency responders.
Young said propane is an extremely explosive gas.
“If you have any idea there is a propane leak, you should leave immediately,” he said.