A dozen loud bangs heard in propane explosion - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

A dozen loud bangs heard in propane explosion

Propane explosion in Helena Propane explosion in Helena


Officials say they might never know what triggered a propane explosion which left a man with serious burn injuries and destroyed a building in Helena on Tuesday.

it was first reported that a propane tank exploded, but now the propane company owners say it was actually the building that blew up, not a propane tank. They also don't know how their employee, Sean Free, survived.

East Valley Fire Chief Dave Sammons says the explosion is under investigation, but their best guess is that some sort of vapor or fumes leaked into the building, which, in a very rare event, caused the explosion.

Since propane was involved, both federal, state and local investigators are working together on the case.

Until the case is closed, which could take several days, none of the scene can be cleaned up.

A temporary fence was installed around the scene on Thursday to stop any unauthorized personnel from entering.

The only person who might know the cause of the explosion is the victim, according to the property owners.

Right now, Free is at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in an induced comma, so he will not be able to answer any questions for a while.

On a positive note, Frees boss says he's received a skin graph and doctors are pleased with his progress.


A neighbor said he heard up to a dozen loud bangs and thought it was another earthquake when he called 911.  Fire crews are still on scene trying to put the blaze out.  

Flames were said to be reaching 30-40 feet high and the plume of smoke could be seen for miles.  Still no official word on injuries.

Traffic is flowing once again in the area of Canyon Ferry and York Road as well as Lake Helena Drive.

We expect to hear from Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton soon.

HELENA - Crews have responded to a propane explosion on the east side of Helena at York Road and Lake Helena Drive.

Details are limited at this time.  Scanner traffic indicated one person was burned in the explosion, however, the severity of their injuries has not been confirmed. 

Neighbors reported hearing 3 loud explosions.

We have reporters on scene and will update as more information becomes available.

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