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Fire chief explains signs of a propane leak after house explosion in Big Sky

“What happened on Friday is the worst-case scenario,” says Big Sky Fire Chief Greg Megaard.
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Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 01, 2024

BIG SKY — A propane explosion caused a fire that burnt down a Big Sky home and left one woman injured on Friday, March 29. Although propane explosions aren't entirely common, Big Sky's fire chief says there are telltale signs that there may be a leak in your propane tank.

“What happened on Friday is the worst-case scenario,” says Big Sky Fire Chief Greg Megaard.

On Friday, a propane explosion destroyed a house on lower Cascade Ridge Road in Big Sky. Neighboring houses had little to no damage thanks to the Big Sky Fire Department isolating the fire to the one property.

Megaard says one woman was in the house at the time and escaped.

"The occupant was flown to a regional medical center in Idaho Falls. Don't know an update on her, but as far as I know, she is doing better," he says.

A propane explosion occurs when leaked propane comes in contact with an ignition source. Megaard says the telltale sign you have a leak is the smell.

"If you smell propane, if you can turn it off, get out of the property, turn all your heaters off," says Megaard. "Obviously, don't turn your light switches on or candles, anything like that. That would give a source of an explosion."

He says the fire department is no stranger to these types of leaks.

"Most of the homes, if not all of them up here, run off propane. There's no natural gas. So we do get quite a few calls," says Megaard.

Megaard encourages anyone who is concerned about their propane leaking to call the fire department.

"Any time you smell or even think you smell propane, natural gas, whatever it is, don't hesitate to call. We'd rather come and there's not a problem than not," says Megaard.

The Big Sky Fire Department is actively working on the investigation into Friday’s explosion with help from the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office.