Virginia, IL – A propane leak is believed to have caused an explosion Friday night that destroyed a Cass County house and rocked residences miles away.
Virginia Fire Chief Donnie Reynolds said the unoccupied modular home at 20927 Garner Road about 1.5 miles northeast of Virginia exploded around 9:30 p.m. Friday. Reynolds said he believes a propane leak filled the house with gas, which found an ignition source and triggered the explosion.
“Not sure there was ever much of a fire,” Reynolds said. “When we arrived, we discovered a propane line leaking and quickly shut off the propane tank.”
He said there was little evidence that a house ever existed when Virginia police and firefighters arrived. He said debris was found up to 300 yards away and, from scanner reports, people in Mason, Morgan and Menard counties heard or felt the blast.
Reynolds, who lives in Virginia, said he heard the explosion and felt his home shake.
“I would say about half the people in town were walking around their houses trying to figure out what happened,” he said.
The house that exploded was owned by Marcus Whitehead of Bath, who was remodeling it.
Reynolds said the explosion caused some damage to nearby homes.
“I think a neighbor across the road had a window broken by the explosion, and the homeowner’s brother, who lives next door, had extensive damage to his home,” Reynolds said.
Numerous people posted on Facebook about the earth-shaking event. The explosion, which was first reported Friday night on myjournalcourier.com, created such a blast that people reported feeling it up to 30 miles from the site.