CO – Investigators have determined the fire that damaged a home in Thomasville last week was caused by a propane gas leak.

A propane tank at the back of the house was covered in snow and ice. That tank had a gas line that had previously fed an outdoor barbecue grill. A valve on that line somehow wound up open, said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson.

The line was hooked to the tank on one end, but disconnected on the other end. Gas leaked outside of the house but worked its way into the crawl space. A pilot light on a heater inside the home may have ignited the gas, Thompson said.

Homeowner Duane Vasten had recently moved into the home and was unaware of the disconnected gas line, Thompson said. The loose line was hidden under the snow. Firefighters noticed evidence of an explosion in the house, so investigators concentrated on the propane tank.

A bathroom and laundry area in the house, which is more than 100 years old, were damaged in the Feb. 28 blaze. Thompson and Vasten credited Thomasville firefighters with saving the house. The Thomasville crew controlled the flames, while dealing with a limited water supply, until Basalt firefighters arrived.

Thompson said that any homeowner who has propane or natural gas service should contact their local fire department if they smell gas.