Whitefish Area House Explodes After Gas Leak

By Beacon Staff

WHITEFISH – Fire crews responded to a house explosion outside of Whitefish Friday morning, finding only remnants of the structure and debris scattered over the property when they arrived.

Whitefish Fire and Rescue Chief Tom Kennelly said his station received the initial call at 8:13 a.m. from a neighbor on Beaver Lake Road who heard the explosion, which fire crews are currently attributing to a propane leak.

Kennelly said the house’s owner is out of state. Fire crews will continue to search the rubble to ensure no one was staying there, but as of two hours after the blast there were no reported injuries.

It took Whitefish fire crews 10 to 12 minutes to get to the scene, which is roughly eight miles outside of town on U.S. Highway 93 North. Evergreen Fire and Rescue also responded.

When crews arrived, Kennelly said the home was “obviously destroyed from some type of explosion.”

The entire structure appeared to be gone, leaving a smoke-filled crater and scattered home items such as towels, cups, wine bottles, a microwave and a metal coffee filter around the blast area.

Pieces of the home’s insulation were caught in a nearby tree, and the door to what Kennelly believed was the kitchen was twisted and smashed against the adjacent garage building.

If anyone had been in the blast or even in the blast radius, it would have likely been fatal, Kennelly said.

“This is a good example of the destructive force that can happen with a gas leak,” Kennelly said.

Crews were still working to secure the gas line r about 10:30 a.m. Kennelly said they had worked to put out the hot spots around the propane tank and would continue to allow escaping gas to burn in a live flame.

“It’s going to be a long day,” Kennelly said.

The chief said anyone who smells gas should call authorities immediately, which includes fire departments and the propane provider.

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