PORT ANGELES — Two propane tanks exploded from the back of a burning pickup near Mount Pleasant IGS on Sunday, Clallam County Fire District 2 officials said.
The fire and subsequent explosions shook the neighborhood east of Port Angeles but resulted in no injuries, district Chief Jake Patterson said.
“Nobody was injured, but it did blow out a window in a travel trailer on Kemp Street and a window in a business,” Patterson said when reached by cell phone.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known because of the damage to the vehicle, Patterson said.
Clallam 2 Fire-Rescue received a report of a vehicle fire from behind the grocery store at 3010 E. U.S. Highway 101 at about 3:12 p.m.
Witnesses heard one explosion before the first units arrived from the Gales Addition fire station.
“As the first units arrived they witnessed a second explosion from the vehicle,” Patterson said in a press release.
“It was reported by bystanders that the blasts were heard up to a half-mile away.”
Firefighters found a fully-engulfed 2011 GMC Sierra behind the store. The fire was beginning to spread to grass along the roadway.
“The first arriving fire engine was able to quickly knock down the fire and begin extinguishing hot spots,” Patterson said.
The driver had just filled three propane bottles and was turning onto Kemp Street when the fire began in the bed of of the pickup, Patterson said.
“The driver and one passenger in the truck were able to exit the vehicle safely,” Patterson said.
“In total, two of the propane tanks ruptured and caused two separate explosions. The third propane tank was thrown from the vehicle and landed in the ditch.”
A 10-foot by 10-foot area of grass was ignited along the ditch where the third propane tank landed.
It was later discovered that a nearby business and a travel trailer in a storage yard on Kemp Street had broken windows from the blasts.
“After the fire was extinguished it was also noted that, due to the heat from the fire, the top of a nearby power pole had started to burn,” Patterson said.
“The connection holding the wires in place eventually failed and the power wire fell into lower wires.”
Clallam County Public Utility District crews shut off power to the damaged line, allowing fire crews to extinguish the blaze on the transmission pole, Patterson said.
Kemp Street was closed for more than two hours after the explosions.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].