Small explosion sets Oak Creek home on fire
Around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, Ross Reiser — a volunteer for the Oak Creek Fire Protection District — heard an explosion.
He was off-duty and visiting a buddy in the numbered blocks just north of Oak Creek’s Main Street when his night of relaxation was cut short.
Just down the road, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom residence was engulfed in flames. According to the investigation, the most likely cause of the fire was a small propane tank that was leaking while hooked up to a heater.
When an occupant of the home on Second Street lit a cigarette in the same room as the propane tank, it triggered an explosion loud enough to alert the entire neighborhood.
With two people inside, houses on each side of the burning residence and a large capacity propane tank in the backyard, the stakes were high for firefighters to act quickly.
Reiser and Jared Kennedy, a reservist for Oak Creek’s Fire Protection District, were the first on the scene. Two fire engines soon followed, one from Oak Creek and another from Yampa Fire Protection District. Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue also provided an ambulance with firefighters who helped suppress the flames.
According to Oak Creek Fire Chief Brady Glauthier, firefighters were able to employ an exterior attack on the flames quickly.
“Because of their quick action, they were able to get knockdown to keep the fire at bay until we were able to do an interior attack,” said Glauthier.
The Oak Creek fire crews entered the lower interior of the home while the Yampa and Steamboat Springs crews handled roof operations.
One of the occupants was unharmed, but the occupant who was in the room of the explosion was transported to the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
The American Red Cross responded by helping the occupants of the house find an alternative living situation since the house sustained heavy damage.
“There’s heavy smoke damage to the house because the fire burnt really hot in that room because of the gas explosion,” Glauthier said.
Firefighters were on scene until about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, after crews had dug into the walls and ceiling to make sure there wasn’t any extension of the fire.
Glauthier also made a point to thank the Oak Creek Police Department for assisting with the fire.
“I think it went really well,” said Glauthier. “It could have been worse, I mean, we kept it to the single room and into the attic space.”
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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