Explosion damages El Jebel home | VailDaily.com

Explosion damages El Jebel home

Aspen Times Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

EL JEBEL, Colorado ” An explosion at a house in Sopris Mountain Ranch destroyed about 600 square feet of the structure and caused an estimated $150,000 in damage Saturday morning, authorities said.

The house was unoccupied at the time. The caretaker, Carlos Enriquez, reported that he smelled gas earlier in the day so he ventilated the upper floors and shut off the propane service.

“Upon entering the basement mechanical room he turned on the light, opened the lid to the boiler controls and then saw a spark which caused ‘the whole room to turn orange,'” said a prepared statement from the Basalt fire department.

An explosion blew the caretaker into a hallway.

The home’s sprinkler system activated and doused the flames at the same time the caretaker helped with a fire extinguisher. Enriquez suffered minor burns on his face and hands.

Fire chief Scott Thompson said the explosion occurred within the walls of the mechanical room, where propane had apparently built up. The propane was ignited by the boiler in the mechanical room. The cause of the leak is under investigation.

Deputy fire chief Jerry Peetz said Enriquez deserved credit for preventing a bigger explosion and fire by shutting down the propane system and ventilating the house. Propane falls ” unlike natural gas, which rises ” so that’s why it accumulated in the walls of the basement mechanical room, Peetz said.

Firefighters located and extinguished two small fires behind the walls.

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