Panguitch Lake, UT – The Spectrum, by ELIZABETH MILLER

Two cabins at Panguitch Lake were destroyed in a matter of seconds Thursday by a propane explosion.

The two cabins were set on a hillside on Meadow Lark, on North Shore Road, with one cabin built a little higher than the other. The upper cabin, owned by Cedar City resident David Nyman, exploded, and the force from the blast knocked the lower cabin off its foundation and shook the other cabins in the small valley.

“The only thing I can say is thank God I wasn’t there with my grandchildren,” Nyman said.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Todd Hohbein estimated Friday that the blast caused at least $600,000 in damage, including the contents of the homes. While investigators believe the explosion was connected to the propane at Nyman’s cabin, the matter is still under investigation.

“It was the most devastating explosion I have ever seen. Not only did it destroy the home that exploded, the shock that went out busted windows 600 yards away,” Hohbein said. “As the shock wave reduced and sucked back toward the cabin, it damaged the second cabin again.”

The boom was heard by residents at the lake just before 7 a.m. Thursday, but both cabins were vacant. The lower cabin still had the for-sale sign hanging on the balcony.

Panguitch Assistant Fire Chief Russell Bulkley said Friday that the upper cabin never really burned. It exploded and then put itself out. There was minimal fire suppression necessary.

This is the second time in a month that a mountain cabin exploded because of a propane tank. On Feb. 28, a cabin at Duck Creek Village also was destroyed when the tank exploded, and the structure burned to the ground.

Hohbein said the explosions are not related, but both are the result of heavy snowfall at higher elevations.

Both cabins are insured by State Farm, and Hohbein said the insurance company likely will have experts visit to try and reconstruct the propane piping to determine where the problem with the propane lines may have originated.

“The problem is that the cabin that exploded is completely gone,” he said. “It looks like a bomb was dropped from the sky and completely destroyed it.”