GRANITE FALLS, N.C. (WBTV) - Diane Smith thought there had been an earthquake. Henry Hollars thought someone had set off some dynamite.
What both of them and others in the neighborhood along Baton Church Road in Caldwell County heard was a propane explosion, inside a home.
It happened about 6:15 a.m. on Tuesday. Fire investigators believe a line from the propane tank outside must have developed a leak inside the home.
No one was living there at the time. The home has been vacant for more than a year after the owner died but the family had been fixing it up and planning to do something with it, say fire officials.
Investigators are not sure what caused the line to leak. It could have been age or settling of the property over the years.
Because no one was in the home, there was no one to smell that distinct odor of propane and call for help, they said.
They believe a static spark from the refrigerator or another appliance set the gas off.
The explosion lifted the house off the foundation and blew two walls out but there was no fire.
Damage is so extensive officials say the home cannot be fixed.