La Plata County, CO – A large explosion at a home near Lemon Reservoir in La Plata County resulted in one person being airlifted to a burn center.
Upper Pine River Fire Protection District responded Wednesday to the explosion in the Forest Groves subdivision off Florida Road (County Road 240) northeast of Durango. The incident remains under investigation, but it was likely caused by propane, said Chief Bruce Evans with the Upper Pine fire department.
“The explosion blew out the wall to the garage and displaced the garage roof,” Evans said. “It blew out windows through the rest of the house.”
A La Plata County woman was severely burned and taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center then airlifted to a Front Range burn center. Two children were in the house and were not injured by the explosion. A dog also suffered some burns, Evans said.
“We’re still evaluating how the propane got into the garage and the house that triggered the explosion,” Evans said.
Upper Pine Fire responded with three engines, a medic unit, a water tender, three chief officers and a fire investigator. The investigation and response wrapped up around 9 p.m. Wednesday, he said.
“When you smell gas in your house, propane, natural gas, whatever, leave immediately. Don’t turn off light switches or open doors electronically,” Evans said. “Exit the building as quickly as possible without doing anything that can trigger a spark.”
Even flipping off lights can cause a small spark that can trigger an explosion.
“It’s a natural reaction to want to vent the house, but you’re taking the risk that … you’re going to trigger an explosion,” he said.