Meyers, CA- Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune -A KOA Campground cabin was demolished in an explosion Sunday that injured a Bay Area woman and sent debris soaring 50 feet from its foundation.
Built last summer, the structure laid in a heap of rubble from the 9:30 a.m. blast.
“It didn’t even burn. The roof flew 20 feet in the air,” Jennifer Mercado said, while walking to her vehicle holding a bag. Visibly shaken, she decided to check out a day early from the cabin she had rented and go home to Marin County. Her cabin – one of four occupied for the weekend- was about 100 feet from the one that exploded.
Her friend, Careana Clay – who was out on the deck of their cabin at the time – was slammed against the wall from the blast. She was transported to Barton Memorial Hospital complaining of neck pain.
Lake Valley Assistant Fire Chief Curt Warren estimated the damage at between $70,000 and $100,000. He reached down and pointed to a gas leak prompted by a cracked pipe and valve at the meter as the apparent culprit. Apparently, snow came off the roof, forming an ice cave around the meter that broke the seal.
Gas had seeped into the structure, and the explosion was triggered by an ignition-based source, perhaps a hot water heater turning on. The blast is under investigation.
“We’ve had several instances this winter where snow has come off the roof or meters haven’t been cleared,” Warren said. “This is why we stress to the homeowners to keep the snow clear.”
KOA Campground owner Lisa McKinnon said nothing like this has ever happened on her property.
“And I’ve been here 26 years,” she said, while rushing over to the site from her home.
Mercado said she contacted KOA mangement about a gas smell on Saturday.
McKinnon said she “smelled it and nothing was abnormal.”
She added she checked the cabin and found nothing wrong.
At the outset of the explosion, she thought Caltrans was conducting avalanche controls.