Fowlerville, MI – Jerry Garland heard and felt the explosion next door as he was working in his garage. He says, “It was a large boom. It was extremely loud, shook the house, shook the garage, the neighbor’s house, shook all the walls in his house. It was pretty scary.”
Garland says he had just let a propane worker into his neighbor’s house. He says, “Yesterday (Monday) about 1:30 PM, I let Northwest Propane in to set a new tank for Larry while he was at work and about 12:30, 12:40 they finished putting it in, called Larry, let him know and went home and about an hour 15 to 20 minutes later, the house exploded.”
Michigan Propane Gas Association Spokesperson Joe Ross says to avoid dangerous situations, check your appliances and don’t tamper with your lines. He says, “More often than not, the problems lie with the homeowner’s responsibility of the heating appliance inside their home. There’s a lot of things than homeowners do that are very dangerous. Some of the things that the propane industry, propane retailers see, is they’ve literally gone into homes and seen where somebody’s repaired a plate coming off their tank using duct tape and rags.”
Ross says explosions can often be the result of some sort of pipe damage, he says it’s not a bad idea to get your systems check out every so often. Ross says, “Have your tanks checked, have your lines checked, if you buy a home or your renting a home for the first time, make sure that those inspections have been done because a lot of it is preventative maintenance and with that, that takes care of most problems.”
For mobile home owners, Ross says they should not stack hay bales around the base of their home. He says that can trap the gas and create a “bomb situation.”
He also reminds people to be aware of the correct size of the tank needed for the home. He says, “The other item that is causing a lot of problems in safety in our industry is the fact that a few homeowners are using the wrong size tank. They’ll use a grill tank, a 20 lb cylinder, to try to heat their home with. Well, that’s a real dangerous situation. Just because that cylinder doesn’t carry enough pressure to actually drive the fuel into the furnace.”
The Fowlerville Fire Chief, John Wright, says it was a leak that caused Monday’s explosion in Fowlerville, but they are still investigating where it came from. The company, Northwest Energy, says it’s waiting for the fire investigation to be completed before they make any decisions on what they might do.
Garland says he’s just happy his neighbors weren’t home and are OK. He says his neighbors had dog in the home that was found alive and OK after the explosion.