NH – Jeannine Agard was working on her car in the backyard of her 20 unit apartment building when she heard a big explosion.

The Hinsdale resident said she saw a part of the 1,000-gallon liquid propane tank skyrocket into the air, causing the neighborhood to be consumed with the smell of gas.

“It shot as high as that building,” she said, referring to her three-story building located at 14 Main St.

Police and fire authorities responded at approximately 5:20 p.m. to the scene after a relief valve burst, apparently because of too much gas in the tank, according to Andrew Sharpiro, landlord of the property. Police and medical crews cleared the streets, asking residents to move their vehicles away from the site.

“The more cars we get out of here, the better we are,” said Fire Chief Bob Johnson.

After the initial blast, residents filed out of the building, many forced to leave their pets behind.

“That’s my biggest concern right now,” said Agard. “What’s this doing to our animals?”

Employees from Rymes Propane and Oil arrived at the location within an hour of the original call and used two empty 125-gallon tanks to relieve the pressure by draining enough propane from the tank so the release would reset.

Officials with the fire department said they used the remaining tank at the property to relight the boilers and allowed the occupants to return indoors.

The burst tank will remain off-line until authorities and inspectors from the gas company can examine the tank later today.

Travis Winter, one of the building tenants, pulled the fire alarm as a precaution after one of the neighboring structures burned several months ago. He said there has been several recent alarms, so he wanted to make sure all the tenants evacuated from the building.

“I pulled the big alarm so people would get the idea,” Winter said.