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South Haven emergency crew suspects propane caused home explosion, offer preventative tips

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South Haven Area Emergency Services Executive Director Ronald Wise shares preventative measures for home owners to avoid possible propane gas explosions. (WWMT/Callie Rainey)

South Haven Area Emergency Services investigators said a home explosion was suspected to have been caused by a propane gas explosion.

An Allegan County woman was admitted to the Bronson Burn and Wound Center in Kalamazoo after the home exploded Sunday. Her family said she was expected to be hospitalized for two weeks.

"The home just all of a sudden exploded. Part of it came down on her in the kitchen. She came to and was able to crawl out the back door," South Haven Area Emergency Services Executive Director Ronald Wise said.

He said the woman who was inside at the time of the explosion was lucky she is still alive after the house was blown up.

He said propane is the main heat source in rural areas across West Michigan and the gas is very safe.

"But there are some precautions we can take, safety mechanisms we can have in our homes," he said.

Wise encouraged home owners to have their heat systems inspected regularly by a professional and to invest in a propane or natural gas detector. He said the biggest sign of a propane leak is the smell.

"If you ever suspect a leak in your home, it's kind of like that smell of rotten eggs. Call 911," he said. "Evacuate the house and we can come and check. Also call your propane supplier and they can check for levels."

He said sometimes a small leak can go unnoticed so he said to be aware of any flu-like symptoms.

"The symptoms that go away when you leave the house, but when you come back you seem to always have a headache at the house or be dizzy at home," he said.

Wise suggested maintaining the heating equipment in an effort to avoid any possible gas explosions.

"We don't see a ton of them, but when we do see them they're deadly. They're catastrophic explosions," Wise said.

Anyone with questions about fire safety in the home should call the local fire department, he said; and anyone with questions about propane should call the supplier.


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