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Morning explosion wakes Scappoose residents

Fire district: Propane exploded on contact with space heater


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Scappoose Rural Fire District officials said that aside from the slight charring on the outside of the home, the propane explosion caused relatively little damage to the structure. An explosion echoed through Scappoose on the morning of Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:28 a.m., leaving many citizens concerned and curious as to its source.

Emergency responders said the explosion was caused by a Scappoose man residing on Columbia River Highway who was purging a 10-gallon propane tank near his home. Gas from the tank apparently traveled into a nearby space heater and ignited in a burst of flame which shook and set fire to the man's mobile home.

“He was purging a propane tank with a small space heater nearby,” said Ronda Melton, spokeswoman for the Scappoose Rural Fire District. “As soon as he smelled propane, he took a step back because he knew what could happen. And it did happen.”

Melton said, aside from singed hair, the man walked away from the explosion injury-free.

Chris Lake, division chief with SRFD, said two engines, one medic, a water-tender and a duty officer from the district responded to the scene to find what Lake described as “light burning” on the structure.

SRFD officials said the exterior and siding of the home were damaged, and inside, things were blown off the man's walls. So far, SRFD has no cost estimate for the home's damages.

Lake said the fire itself did little damage to the home. “There was pretty significant damage, but mainly from the explosion,” Lake said.