Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of an explosion that killed a Kalispell man early Friday morning.
John Parsons, 57, died in an explosion just after 2 a.m. that leveled the house and small garage at 725 Ninth Ave. W. Debris from the blast was found as far as two blocks away by officials with the Kalispell Fire Department.
Officials have not yet determined the official cause of the explosion, but said foul play is not suspected. The incident remains under investigation.
Fire Chief Dave Dedman said the home was fully engulfed in flames when responding public safety officers arrived on scene at 2:15 a.m. Surrounding homes sustained minor damage, but no other injuries were reported, Dedman said.
Charred pieces of debris and furniture and two vehicles that were completely destroyed were still smoldering as investigators surveyed the scene around 8:30 a.m.
Alice Blond lives next door to the destroyed home and knew Parsons. The early morning blast jarred her and her family awake immediately.
“It was just a big old ‘boom!’” she said. “I looked out my bedroom window and it was all red.”
In a panic, Blond and her sister hurried everyone outside to safety. The neighboring house was already burning, she said.
“It was scary,” she said. “The fire was just billowing out.”
Reverberations from the blast were felt throughout the neighborhood. Some neighbors reported the blast knocked pictures off the walls. Others said it sounded like the neighborhood was “being bombed.”
Christy Madsen, who lives nearby, was immediately roused awake.
“The impact from the explosion, it literally felt like the house went sideways,” she said. “We woke right up and the walls looked like they moved.”
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