Lanesboro, MA- A Berkshire County family is thankful to be alive after a propane gas explosion leveled their home two days before Thanksgiving.
No one was hurt.
People who work in the propane field say this shouldn’t have happened.
The rush to fill propane tanks is on at H.A. George Fuels.
“Thanksgiving, people cook a bit more and it’s a forgotten thing until the last minute,” said Brice George, owner of H.A. George Fuels in North Adams.
Propane is cheaper than oil. So lately there’s demand to use the fuel for cooking and heating. And after what happened in nearby Lanesboro, George says safety is on everyone’s mind.
“Our reaction really was number one, did anyone get hurt and what was the cause of the accident?” George said.
Debris was still smoldering Wednesday at the property on Orebed Road. The foundation was barely peeking above the rubble. The propane gas explosion destroyed the home Tuesday morning.
Published reports say the owner told firefighters a propane tank was recently filled and while checking a basement furnace, he flipped a switch and that sparked the explosion.
“It’s common knowledge, if you smell gas don’t turn on any switches,” said Dave Blessing owner of Jodi’s Seasonal, a small propane tank shop in Dalton.
Propane itself is odorless. But Blessing says a distinctive odorant is added so people know when there’s a problem. It may smell like rotten eggs or a sweet-smelling skunk.
“It really does stink. It takes very little to have you pick up on it,” Blessing said.
A problem like a leak in even a small tank – like the 20 pound tanks on many gas grills – might be enough to level a house.
“People should pay attention to the tanks. Don’t let them rust. Look at the bottom and make sure there’s no corrosion,” Blessing said.
But both point out there are 2 billion tanks in service and the majority of folks are very careful.
“These accidents are very rare. Reason is because you stay on top of it, do things the right way, avoid these situations,” Goerge said.
So what do you do if you smell any kind of gas in your home? First put out all open flames and get out of the house. Have the gas turned off and report the leak to your fire department so they can get someone out to help you. You’ll also want a professional to come check the system right after.
The exact circumstances leading up to what happened in Lanesboro are not known. NewsChannel 13 was unable to reach the family Wednesday.