Franklin County, VA – By Shawna Morrison, Roanoke Times – An explosion that destroyed a Franklin County house early Monday morning appears to have been caused by a propane leak, officials said.

Chris Slemp, the county’s director of public safety, said the large, 2-year-old home on Pine Haven Lane, on the south side of Smith Mountain Lake, exploded just after 3 a.m. The owner was in Florida, Slemp said, and no one was injured. The house was a total loss, with damage estimated at $130,000.

“It’s totally blown to pieces,” Slemp said. Debris was tossed more than 100 feet from the house, and the force shook pictures off the walls in the house next door. “We actually had full pieces of wall blown 80 feet from the house,” Slemp said.

It took fire crews from Glade Hill, Scruggs and Smith Mountain Lake about 30 minutes to gain control of the blaze and about two hours to extinguish all the hot spots, he said.

The Franklin County Department of Public Safety worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Virginia State Police on Monday to determine the cause of the blast. They think the propane line that led to a gas log fireplace had been leaking, and the propane was ignited when either the air conditioning unit, the water heater or a well pump turned on, Slemp said.