This could happen to you. Sunday around 6 p.m., someone at a house on Hoyer Court turned on the gas on their outdoor kitchen grill then stepped away, probably thinking it was lit and preheating. When the man returned to the grill, however, there was no flame. He decided to reignite the grill and – BOOM. The propane that had built up exploded, tearing apart the granite countertop and much else in the vicinity.
Remarkably, the man at the grill received only minor injuries (the person was treated at the hospital and released).
He was “very, very fortunate,” sad EG Fire Chief Bernie Patenaude Monday. “He was standing in a direction the shrapnel didn’t happen to go.”
Patenaude called the incident a “good-sized explosion” and said the propane ignited “quickly and violently.”
How can you avoid this?
Patenaude said when you have turned on the gas and lit a grill, make sure you see flames. If you don’t, that means the gas is flowing with no flame to burn it, so it will stick around. That gas buildup will become combustible eventually, depending on the location. So, if you light a grill and return later and find no flame, turn off the gas line and step away from the grill for at least 15 minutes, said Patenaude. People might get hungry but you will avoid an explosion.
If this happens and you are unsure if it’s safe, said Patenaude, call the EGFD. They have gas meters to measure the gas buildup.