Propane tank likely the cause of devastating explosion

It was a deafening boom heard across the Normandeau neighbourhood in Red Deer Sunday morning.

Photo by CYNTHIA RADFORD/Advocate Staff

An explosion rocked the Normandeau neighbourhood sending one man to hospital and injuring another in Red Deer Sunday morning.

Red Deer Emergency Services fire captain Terry Brew said residents of a home on Nagel Avenue were moving stuff from a rented truck to a garage when the explosion occurred.

A propane barbecue tank inside a van is likely the source of the explosion.

“One person suffered first degree burns on his back,” said Wes Van Bavel, Red Deer fire prevention officer.

“The second male had first and second degree burns on his left arm and on his face and some lacerations. But after three hours in hospital, he was released.”

City fire crews responded to the call around 9 a.m.

Brew said they heard the sound at the fire station on 67th Street and thought someone had ploughed into the building.

“It was a big thump,” said Brew.

Minor damage was reported on six surrounding properties.

Neighbours on both sides of the home reported debris flying onto their property, pictures falling off walls and chandeliers crashing.

The mobile homes in Parkside Estates, east of Nagel Avenue and separated by an alley, seemed to have suffered the most damage.

The foundations of three trailers directly across the alley from the explosion may have shifted.

Kevin Brezuk said the pictures and mirrors on his walls crashed down and his whole home shook.

“I picked up so much in my back yard,” said Brezuk.

“There was so much stuff. It was unreal.”

Brezuk said the bottom aluminum skirt pieces on the bottom of his mobile home ripped apart and the screening on his windows popped out.

“To tell you the truth, I thought it was a plane that landed in the backyard,” said Brezuk.

“I’m not kidding you. It was a such a big bang and a shake. Unreal.”

Denise Werschke, also a resident in the trailer park, was shaken but thankful no one was seriously injured. She was sleeping when she heard what sounded like lightning striking a tree and crashing down onto the roof.

Wearing only a housecoat and carrying her dog, she rushed outside to safety.

“It was a big friggin’ bang,” said Werschke. “I have a 50-pound mirror that fell down and sliced all the chords on the wall. ”

But when she went outside to investigate, she quickly saw it was no lightning storm.

The investigation continues.

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