Jonathan Valley, NC- JONATHAN VALLEY – An explosion leveled a house in northern Haywood County Tuesday, sending burning propane gas shooting out of the rubble like an oversized blowtorch.

Authorities said they knew of no one hurt in the blast, though fire officials evacuated two families living nearby.

“It just blew,” said Tom Fehling, a carpenter who was renovating a house 200 yards from the explosion. “Ka-boom, out of nowhere. It knocked one of our guys down.”

The house exploded about 4:20 p.m. in a neighborhood off Hemphill Road. The blast scattered debris for 1,000 square yards, rescue workers said.

Three hours later, firefighters from the Jonathan Creek, Maggie Valley and Fines Creek fire departments were working to control a flaming propane tank. Propane gas is a common fuel for heating homes.

“We have no idea what started it at this point,” said Randy Fugate, assistant Haywood County emergency management coordinator. “It was a powerful explosion.”