Ogden, UT – An explosion triggered by leaking propane blew out the south wall of a home Saturday morning, causing a fire that engulfed the entire house.
No one was injured, as the four residents inside were at the opposite end of the small house when the propane ignited at about 11 a.m., Ogden Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Wood said.
“We had four or five calls reporting the explosion,” he said of the pyrotechnics at 2740 Grant Ave.
Juan Jose Merito and his three children, ages 18 months to 8 years, were in the house while wife Patricio was at work at the time of the fire. “Everybody’s OK,” he repeated at the scene hours later, still seemingly shell-shocked.
A family friend said one of the children described the incident as, “The house jumped.”
Damage is estimated at $100,000, with the roughly 1,200-square-foot residence considered a total loss, Wood said.
The family had been using a propane heater in the house, he said, but had shut it off the day before because it was leaking. The propane was apparently still leaking as fumes filled the room the heater was in “and found an ignition source,” Wood said.
“They all got out with no injuries. The house was fully involved (with flames) and a column of smoke was 30 feet in the air when we got there.”
A total of 18 firefighters and five firetrucks responded to the fire, which Wood said was controlled in about 30 minutes.
Residences nearby, a matter of a few feet away, appeared undamaged.
Officials from the Northern Utah Chapter of the Red Cross were on hand at the fire scene, arranging for clothing, money for food and free lodging as needed, although Merito said he had arranged for himself and family to stay with friends.
The gutted building offered an easy view to the black interior of the house where anything that wasn’t burned appeared obviously smoke-damaged.
Firefighters were still going through the house at 2 p.m., and Merito hadn’t yet been able to check inside to see if any personal belongings were undamaged.