By ANDY TELLI, The Hendersonville Star News – Exhausted after a 26-hour car ride, Jackie and Linda McMurtry were sound asleep Saturday night when a propane gas explosion blasted

them out of their bed, blew doors off the hinges, and knocked windows out of their frames.

“We didn’t get a singed hair,” Jackie McMurtry marveled two days later. “The

Lord was there with us.”

The McMurtrys, motorcycle enthusiasts, returned to their home at 160 Cranwell

Drive about 7:30 p.m. Saturday from a vacation in Daytona Beach, Fla., for Bike

Week. The trip home had been marred by car trouble and it took 26 hours, Jackie

McMurtry said.

When they got home, Jackie McMurtry turned on his three propane gas heaters

for the first time this season. Two heaters were lit, but the third leaked gas

into the house.

“They’re lucky to be alive,” Hendersonville Fire Investigator Bob Galoppi


The McMurtrys went to bed about 9:30 p.m. About two hours later, the gas

ignited in a bonus room, sending a fireball through the house. The McMurtrys

were sleeping in the next room and were knocked out of their bed and onto the

floor. The two got up and headed for the French doors in their den, which were

by then lying in their driveway, still in their frame.

“I think she pulled me out of the house more than I pulled myself,” Jackie

McMurtry said of his wife. Just as they were running out the door, there was a

second explosion.

The McMurtrys lost most of their possessions in the fire, including

photographs Jackie had taken of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel’s famous

attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in the 1970s.

McMurtry also lost about 15 trophies he had won for his motorcycles. “I think

only the Lord got us out,” Jackie McMurtry said.