December 15, 2023– The Spokane Fire Department (SFD) was dispatched at 1:42 PM to multiple 911 calls reporting a building that had exploded in the 100 Block of North Stone Street. Fire Companies arrived within five minutes and found a metal building with extensive visible damage and signs of an internal explosion. Firefighters entered the structure to search for victims and extinguish any fire. An adult male was located and determined to be the only victim inside the structure at the time of the explosion. Fire Department Paramedics treated the patient for burns, and he was transported by AMR to a local trauma center for definitive treatment. The fire was extinguished quickly and did not extend to the structure.
The nature of the explosion was determined to be accidental, and the cause was related to the inappropriate transfilling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) between containers. LPG is a flammable gas commonly used in heating appliances, cooking equipment, and vehicles. LPG is a mixture of propane and butane, which are hydrocarbon gases. It is stored in liquid under pressure in gas bottles or tanks and, when released into the atmosphere, becomes gaseous and can be explosive in the correct mixture. In this case, the occupant had fallen asleep while transiting containers in a bedroom, resulting in an overpressurization and subsequent leak. The vapor found a heat source and caused a devastating explosion.
Community Risk Reduction Message for Media
Transfilling LPG might seem like a simple way to refill your LPG tanks at home, but it’s extremely dangerous!
Why is Transfilling Dangerous?
- Explosion Risk: Transferring LPG can cause leaks, leading to fires or explosions.
- Injury Hazard: Exposure to LPG can cause severe cold burns or frostbite.
- Environmental Threat: Leaks contribute to air pollution and harm the environment.
- Illegal and Unregulated: This process is often illegal and bypasses safety regulations.
Professional Refilling is Key
Always have your LPG tanks refilled by a licensed and professional service. They have the right equipment and training to do it safely.
If you suspect a leak or have concerns about your LPG tank:
- Please do not attempt to fix it yourself.
- Contact a professional immediately.
- Evacuate the area if necessary.
Remember: Transfilling LPG tanks at home is not worth the risk to your safety, loved ones, and community.