Gastonia Fire Officials Suggest Using Care in Storage of Propane - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Gastonia Fire Officials Suggest Using Care in Storage of Propane Tanks

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The powerful blast from inside of the small wooden mill house along Fair Oaks Drive in Gastonia was so loud people heard it more than a mile away.

It happened Monday afternoon.

Before the flames were put out firefighters knew the source, it started from a leaking propane tank that now stands in the center of the charred structure.

Jim Landis is the city's fire educator and spokesman for the Gastonia Fire Department.

"The fumes leaked in this case they leaked out and filled the house full of propane," he said." The gentleman came in and smelled it and had the sense to get out. All it takes is one ignition source."

One day later with the fire trucks long gone, it is easy to see how much damage the heat did to the siding next door.

It melted part of Tony Harris's home.

"Had the wind been blowing this direction towards our house, we would have lost our house. Thank God it was no worse than it was, because our house could have been gone too,"Harris said.

Little is recognizable at the home, but in the course of their investigation firefighters made chilling discovery.

Five more propane tanks were inside the house.

Neighbors told WBTV they were also full of gas.

Fire Educator Jim Landis suggest keeping fossil fuels outdoors.

"Let's leave them outside in case they do leak to the outside air, but don't store them in the house," he said.

Investigators have not released the fire victim's name.

According to one neighbor, he's being treated for high blood pressure and a heart condition at a nearby hospital.

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