Claire.Nelson, WHNT TV – It’s happened three times in one week.Gas-related fires that caused explosions have destroyed homes.Firefighters say the explosion part of the fires does the most damage and is easiest to prevent.

“It’s not common for us to have explosions,” Jay Gates said.

Gates, with the Huntsville Fire Department sees fires like these first-hand. He also sees how explosive gas and propane–especially tanks–can be when proper precautions are not taken.

“These things are so dangerous. Gas can collect in certain areas, and then if they find an ignition source, then you’ll have an explosion,” Gates explained.

But many people who have propane tanks and other gas tanks on their property, say they don’t even know to check them.

“We probably fill it up maybe twice a year,” Eric Tishaw said, pointing at the propane tank near him.

Tishaw comes out here to take a break while at work, but no one he works with admitted to ever checking this propane tank just steps away from their office. Tishaw says when he heard about the recent gas explosions, he decided it may be time to take extra precautions.

“We were surprised,” he said. “We’ll definitely be checking it more often now.”

Here’s s what you can do:

1. Be alert for gas odors when around a gas appliance or container.

2. Don’t light anything if you smell a gas odor.

3. Only follow label instructions and warning labels.

4. The pilot has a safety device.If you have trouble lighting it or keeping it lit, there’s a problem.

5. Never force any appliance or container controls.

The Huntsville Fire Department and people like Eric Tishaw agree that getting someone check these five things could be a small price to pay in order to save your life.

“To call a professional out to come out that’s qualified to work on a gas appliance is nothing compared to having to collect your loved ones up and bury them in three days,” Jay Gates with the Huntsville Fire Department