Selma, IN – By NICK WERNER, The Star Press
A propane explosion tore through an unfinished Perry Township house Friday afternoon, injuring a fireplace installation worker and a homeowner and blowing out windows.
Homeowner Trace Adkins, 39, and worker Joshua Moore, 29, of Hoosier Hearth in Anderson, both probably suffered concussions in the blast at 8651 S. Delaware County Road 600-E, Liberty Township Fire Department Chief Rick Compton said.
“The outcome could have been a lot worse,” Compton said.
Moore remained at Ball Memorial Hospital on Friday night while Adkins was released after treatment.
The house filled with propane because a second-story gas pipe had not been capped before workers sealed it behind drywall, Compton said.
The pipe was originally intended to fuel a fireplace in an upstairs bedroom, Compton said. The fireplace, however, was never built, and the pipe had been covered only with a piece of duct tape.
“Somebody wasn’t paying attention to what the other person was doing,” Compton said.
The fire chief said he did not know who was responsible for the uncapped pipe.
Adkins had been at times staying in the home and noticed a smell of gas, Compton said.
She opened the windows Friday to ventilate the house.
Moore, on his stomach, was working on a first-floor fireplace. When he tried to ignite a pilot light, the flame combined with the fresh air and propane to create the explosion, Compton said.
Had the worker been standing, he might have been blown out a window, the fire chief said.
Adkins was in a different first-floor room when the explosion occurred.
The blast tore through drywall, burned insulation and knocked first-floor windows out. Compton estimated the damage at $30,000.