Durango, CO – By Shane Benjamin, Herald Staff Writer
A propane explosion did extensive damage Tuesday night to Haggard’s Black Dog Tavern.
The business, located 12 miles northeast of Durango on Florida Road (County Road 240), will be closed for the remainder of February, according to an answering machine at the bar and grill. Efforts to reach the owners were unsuccessful Wednesday.
The fire was reported about 9:28 p.m. Tuesday. When firefighters arrived four minutes later, they saw smoke and flames on the exterior of the building. They spent 5 hours and 50 minutes attacking the blaze and making sure all the hot spots were doused.
In addition to 35 firefighters from three departments, there were six tankers, six engines, a ladder truck and a rescue truck. Firefighters used 15,000 gallons of water to douse the blaze, which is about what seven tankers carry, said Jim Piccoli, chief of the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District.
“They quickly knocked it down, and when they did, it came back at them, so they went to the interior,” Piccoli said.
A remodel of the building made finding all the hot spots difficult, he said.
A man in one of the five apartments above the building reported hearing a loud explosion, a
pause and then two more explosions in succession, Piccoli said. The explosions shook the building. When the man went outside to investigate, he saw flames.
Piccoli said snow and ice fell from a second-story roof and landed on the regulator of a 500-gallon propane tank. Gas began leaking inside the building and outside, he said.
There were about six sources of electricity inside the building that could have ignited the gas, Piccoli said. “When it ignited on the inside, it severely burned the eastern half of the business,” he said. The tavern was not open at the time of the explosion.