SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Investigators are sifting through the debris of the Minneapolis apartment fire looking for a cause, a process well known to crews in Sioux Falls.
"It's hard to say exactly what happened. Like the fire investigators there, we go through the same process. I understand exactly what they're trying to do. Uncover the area of origin and figure out exactly what went on," Sioux Falls Fire Marshal Dean Lanier said.
Witnesses in the apartment say there was a smell of gas before the explosion, and according to Lanier, that's a major red flag.
"If you have those concerns, especially those two key indicators that are there, odd odors and symptoms of the flu, are two key indicators that you probably have something going on in the home," Lanier said.
In the perfect situation, nobody should ever detect the odor of natural gas, which resembles the scent of rotten eggs. If things are checked out by a professional, the chances of an issue lessen.
"The first step to take is to make sure a certified repair person takes care of your appliances. The next thing to do is to be alert and aware if there's circumstances that change or conditions that change," Lanier said.
If something does change, and you sense that there may be a leak, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.
"It only takes a few moments for us to step into your home and check and see whether or not you've got an actual leak. We've got all the equipment, it's a short visit," Lanier said.
Once you make that call, the next step is to get everyone in the home to safety, because you never know what could happen next.
"Go ahead and evacuate out of their home. Often, when you smell gas, it's the first indication of there's something that's gone wrong," Lanier said.
Lanier says explosions like the one in Minneapolis are rare, but they do happen. As long as people are aware of the warning signs of a leak, everyone will be much safer.
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