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Investigators Search For Cause Of Explosion

January 10, 2012, 5:04 PM by Peggy Moyer

Investigators Search For Cause Of Explosion
HARRISBURG, SD - Twenty-four hours after an explosion and fire flattened a Lincoln County home and sent two people to the hospital, investigators are still searching for answers.

The state fire marshal's office sifted through the rubble on Tuesday hoping to find out what was going on inside the home and what might have caused the explosion.

Only charred remains and a hole in the ground are left following Monday’s explosion and house fire in Lincoln County. Investigators from the state fire marshal's office are on the scene looking for the cause. Harrisburg Fire Chief Bill Fink says the initial investigation leans toward the presence of propane.

"Probably a propane leak of some sort, somewhere. They're not sure when at or why, but that's what they're leaning to right now," Harrisburg Fire Chief Bill Fink said.

Fink says the right ratio of fuel and air can be ignited by some very common sources in a home.

"Propane is heavier than air so it’s going to go to the floor and build up and get to an ignition point where there is a pilot light on the water heater or furnace kicking in or a light switch or even a cell phone or something like that maybe there's enough static or spark there," Fink said.

The explosion came with enough force to blow entire walls out of the home. Fink says the family was probably lucky to get out of this one, but also warns others to be aware of even the slightest odor.

"Best thing, if you walk into a house or building and you can smell it, don’t turn on any light switches. Just back out and call somebody to take care of the problem," Fink said.

The state fire marshal's office would like to speak to the father and daughter who were home at the time before wrapping up their investigation.

As far as their conditions, a neighbor to the family tells me the daughter was treated for minor injuries in Sioux Falls and the father was flown to a Minneapolis burn unit for care.
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