San Juan County, WA –
Orcas Fire Rescue and San Juan County Sheriff Units were called to the area of Bracken Fern and Terrill Beach Road at 12:20PM on Saturday, May 29, 2010 for a reported “vehicle fire”.
Volunteer Lieutenant, Dave Mowrey was working at Country Corner grocery and heard the explosion.
What he found in the driveway of 23 Bracken Fern was a 1982 Pace Arrow motor home. The side had been blown out when propane from an uncapped refrigerator pipe filled the vehicle with propane. The explosion occurred when it found an ignition source in the newly ignited water heater.
The owner had just turned on the propane for the first time this year and lit the water heater. Fortunately, he was inside his residence when the explosion occurred. The vehicle received major damage with all the windows blown out and a large hole in the side of the vehicle.
Lt Mowrey turned off the propane tank and began extinguishing the fire before the first Fire Rescue unit arrived. Division Fire Chief, Patrick Shepler said, “Based on the initial information; we had a very robust response from 15 of our firefighters.
Motor home fires are extremely dangerous; especially when they threaten other nearby structures.”
“In this case, the quick actions of Lt Mowrey allowed us to bring the situation under control very quickly.”