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
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
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.