NM – Rio Arriba County Emergency Manager Duane Merritt said it appears the cause of the explosion at the Brazos Canyon Volunteer Fire Department station Tuesday was a leak in the propane line running to the building.

An explosion destroyed the fire station around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, killing volunteer fire chief Michael Hays and strewing widespread debris.

Hays had retired just days before the explosion and was in the station when the blast went off.

Merritt said it’s possible a breaker panel inside the building ignited the gas.

Insulation hanging from the trees nearly 100 feet up portrayed the force of the explosion.

Homes nearby had windows blown out and cupboards ripped open.

One of the department’s tanker trucks is now out of commission and the other may be a complete loss.

The panel was next to where the line entered the station. Heavy snow over the past few weeks may have contributed to the propane line leak.

Merritt said investigators are wrapping up work at the scene Thursday