It woke me up just after 6:00 AM. Actually it didn’t wake me up. I was already awake and trying to jump-start myself outta bed. I thought it was thunder. But I had visited the water closet not a half hour earlier and there is an indoor/outdoor thermometer in there and it proclaimed 22 degrees. A little too cold for thundersnow. Plus, it wasn’t snowing. Starry skies.

After I got up and started looking around on the intertubes… Well, crap. It was (another) house explosion. A mile and some away down on S. Seventh St. I lived on N. Seventh a bazillion years ago.

The good news is NO ONE DIED this time. The sole occupant of the house (an “elderly” man) was taken to the horspittal with non-life-threatening injuries. I heard “burn unit” on the radio at one point but your mileage may vary with news stories and random social media scuttlebutt.

What seems to be pretty clear is that his natural gas connection had been shut off a while back (maybe water too) and he was heating his house with propane. I think *most* people on The Planet Ann Arbor heat with natural gas through DTE Energy. Propane is more likely to be used in the rural areas where DTE doesn’t have infrastructure butcha never know. The details about what actually happened are unclear but it doesn’t sound like a meth cooking incident (which came up on next-door-neighbor right away). My totally uneducated guess based on other folks’ social media speculation is his gas got turned off and he couldn’t pay and was too proud to reach out for help. I think DTE and other organizations have programs to help people who can’t pay their utility bills. But he did a DIY fix.

We “heat” with propane at the moomincabin but we do not have central heat there. It’s just a little stove that takes the edge off in the yooperland shoulder seasons or on cold summer days. It is turned off throughout the winter. Our propane tank is well away from the moomin and Amerigas (our cabin propane provider) is proactive about checking the tank and the stove and all the connections and replaces the tank periodically.

Breaking news: this morning’s victim apparently had *two* propane tanks INDOORS!

There hasn’t been much follow-up news (that I’ve seen) on the house explosion to the north of us back on December 30. It was much farther away but also MUCH louder, although loud isn’t quite the right word. In the end, the house belonged to a grandfather. He was hosting his daughter, son-in-law and their three young adult children from out of town for the holidays. The owner/grandfather is alive and recovering. The mom, dad, and two of their children died. Their youngest child survived. I haven’t heard the exact cause but I believe it was propane related. That’s an area that is likely not within DTE’s natural gas line infrastructure. Sad sad sad.

Today was a gorgeous day and the GG walked downtown via the explosion area and got these pics. He also hit up Kerrytown and brought home lamb stew meat, hanger steaks, and smoked mackerel.

Take care and be careful handling propane gas and any flammables!

2 Responses to “BOOM!

  1. Margaret Says:

    I never think of propane as being as flammable as it is; having a tank inside wouldn’t even cross my mind though. John’s camper does have one (or two?) outside in a compartment. One time he forgot to turn it off and he knows he needs to be much more careful.

  2. Pooh Says:

    I was walking around downtown Ann Arbor back in the day. There was a construction site, (maybe the new Federal Building on Liberty?), with a hissing propane tank. I went closer to affirm that it was indeed the tank that was hissing. A construction worker hurried over and told me I shouldn’t be there. I think he thought I was going to trespass. When I explained the hissing sound, his tone changed, as he said, “get away fast”! I did!