Saturday, September 04, 1999

House explosion traced to propane

Investigators focus on leaking tank

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        GERMAN TOWNSHIP — Fire investigators determined Friday that plumbers inadvertently caused a propane explosion that destroyed a house, fatally injured one man and sent five other people to the hospital Aug. 24.

        The explosion occurred in the 12000 block of Big Twin Terrace in Montgomery County, near Germantown.

        Germantown Fire Chief Gary Nesslage said Friday that two plumbers, Darrell Neal, 43, and Timothy Blashock, 49, both of Middletown, threw a switch that caused the spark that ignited a leaking propane tank.

        “We're having considerable difficulty finding where the leak came from,” the chief said.

        The plumbers and the homeowner, Melissa Reason, 35, were taken to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Mr. Neal died there Wednesday. Mr. Blashock and Ms. Reason were in fair condition Friday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

        Three children in the home, Katie Reason, 7, her brother, Kenton, 5, and their friend, Joshua Stamm, 7, of Miamisburg, were taken to Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. Katie was released in two days. On Friday, her brother was listed in fair condition, while Joshua was listed as critical.

        Chief Nesslage estimated the total damage at $500,000. He said the force of the blast was so strong that it damaged two neighbors' homes, both about 200 feet away.

        The home, in a developing area, used propane because natural gas service is not available, the chief said.

        The investigation continues.


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