Gas explodes in back of U-Haul trailer due to propane leak

Pat Fulton photo
Glenrock/Converse County firefighters, the Glenrock Police Department and the Converse County Sheriff’s Office responded to a gas explosion at 71 Brubaker Road in Glenrock on the afternoon of Nov. 9.

Cinthia Stimson

Residents in Glenrock and Rolling Hills said they were startled Saturday around 3:50 p.m. by what sounded like a large explosion outside.
Numerous people took to social media pages to post their reactions, questions and comments about what was – at the time – an unknown, disturbingly loud noise.
“What was that, a sonic boom?” Cathy Nelson and others questioned each other on one social media page.
Glenrock/Converse County Fire Department Acting Chief Rob Brewer said Tuesday that the explosion was not, in fact, a sonic boom, but was a propane tank in the back of a U-Haul trailer located at 71 Brubaker Road that was the cause of the explosion.
Five firefighters received the call out at 4:05 p.m. and responded to the scene. Two additional firefighters were on standby close by.
No one was injured in the explosion.
Brewer said the U-Haul trailer was being used to move household goods, and contained a washer and dryer, a weed burner and a barbecue grill in it.
The name of the individual using the trailer was not available as of press time.
The trailer sustained damages, but exactly how much it would cost to fix it was not released. However, the appliances and other things being hauled inside of the trailer had an estimated value of approximately $1,000, Brewer said.
“The investigation determined the propane tank was leaking. It was not determined what sparked to light the gas. It was the gas in the trailer that ignited and blew the trailer apart,” Brewer said.
Various law enforcement entities within Glenrock and Converse County responded to the blast with the fire department.
Glenrock Police Department Sgt. Colter Felton said one of GPD’s officers arrived on the scene to make sure the area was safe and secure it, but that it is not GPD’s case.
Converse County Undersheriff Nathan Hughes confirmed that there were no injuries and a limited amount of damage except to the trailer.
Because the U-Haul is a rental, Brewer said the fire department called in a state fire marshal to do an investigation.
“It was a cautionary measure. Fire fighters secured the scene, pieced together the pieces and decided to call the fire marshal down, erring on the side of caution. There will be insurance (claims) involved. A trained fire investigator can make the determination,” Brewer explained.
The explosion was loud enough that everyone living in Glenrock could have heard it, he said.
It is possible people in Rolling Hills – 4.5 miles outside of Glenrock – heard it, too.
A homeowner on Lookout Drive said her windows rattled; another resident living on Laramie Street said the blast moved the floor inside of their house.
Asked if a blast from the propane tank leak could project that level of concussion and noise throughout the town, Brewer said it, in fact, could.


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