Muscatine, IA – Muscatine Explosion and Propane Safety

By KCRG-TV9 News Reporter Dave Franzman – TV9 Cedar Rapids Newsroom

An explosion leveled a rural Muscatine County home late Thursday night and one of the two people inside died from her injuries. Authorities say the explosion was triggered by a liquid propane gas leak. It happened just before 10 o’clock Thursday night at the home of Claude and Norma Dickey just north of Muscatine.

A neighbor pulled the couple from their basement. Both were taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where Norma Dickey later died of her injuries. Claude Dickey’s condition is not being released.

The state Fire Marshal’s office says L-P or natural gas explosions and fires happened on average about 20 times a year in Iowa. In Eastern Iowa, two such incidents happened barely a week apart. Thursday night’s blast in Muscatine was preceded by an explosion that leveled a vacant farm house near Hudson on July 1st.

Propane dealers say L-P gas is a safe fuel…but you’ve got to follow some common sense rules. One Iowa City-area dealer says he’s seen a lot of “scary” do-it-yourself hookups over the years. A-1 Propane owner Mike Walter says if his employees see a questionable system…he won’t pump any propane without doing a safety check first.

Walter says if he gets a new customer…of if a tank runs dry…then state rules require testing the system for leaks before filling the tank.

The dealer says it’s also important to watch where you dig in your yard if you have gas lines underground. Iowa’s deadliest L-P explosion happened in 1999 in the town of Richland when seven people died. That blast was traced to a newly installed post that pierced an underground gas line.

Copyright CRTV Company