Firefighters Say Propane Leaks Often Hard to Detect

By: Brooke Thacker, Michael Huff Email
By: Brooke Thacker, Michael Huff Email

Many people in our region use propane to heat their homes and after Tuesday's explosion, chances are many of them were checking their tanks and hoses, making sure everything was sealed tight and in good working order.

The state fire marshal described the aftermath of Tuesday's deadly explosion in Ghent like this: "The best way to explain it is to imagine putting an explosive in your house and the only thing you had left was toothpicks."

Huntington Fire Marshal David Bias says a propane leak can be difficult to detect. Even though propane has a distinct smell, it's heavier than air and by the time you smell it, you're into a cloud of it.

Investigators say that once someone at the Little General store realized there was a leak they called 9-1-1. Firefighters responded and were on the scene when the store exploded.

Fire Marshal Bias says that if there's a gas leak you should leave the building immediately and go to a neighbors house to call for help. Bias also says weather plays a factor. For example, on a windy day the heavier than air propane mixes with air and can become even more volatile. Investigators still haven't determined what sparked Tuesday's deadly explosion.

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