A Yarmouth, Maine man was killed and at least a dozen of his neighbors were displaced by an explosion Tuesday, June 25th that destroyed or damaged homes. The effects of the blast were felt miles away. Police and fire officials said the blast, believed to be a propane explosion, occurred about 6:17 a.m. and destroyed a condominium unit at 50 Gables Drive, where Peter Corey lived. Mr. Corey, 66 years old, lived alone and was described as severely disabled.
The blast was being investigated by the state Fire Marshal’s Office, and was reportedly likely caused by a propane leak in one of the units.
According to reports, several propane tanks serve the 14 units on Gables Drive. The tank that fed into the building that exploded is four units away and was not damaged by the blast. It was thought initially that any leaking gas must have been inside the condominium. Propane is heavier than air, so a leak can cause a dangerous accumulation in low spots in enclosed spaces.
A structural engineer was hired to check each of the buildings to determine which ones are safe for residents to enter to gather belongings, said the police chief.
Explosions caused by various ignition sources, such as gas explosions, as well as burns caused by fire and electrocution, can have a devastating and catastrophic impact, resulting in death or severe, permanent disabilities. Surviving burn victims and their families suffer through long months of painful and costly medical procedures and rehabilitation in order to regain function. The psychological damage of a burn injury, especially highly visible burns to the face or hands, may last a lifetime. Therefore, proper precautions must always be taken in and around homes and businesses using gas, including propane. If a leak is suspected, users should immediately leave the area and call emergency officials to investigate, since combustible vapors can quickly accumulate.