Local News

Cold Weather a Reminder to Beat Dangerous Heat

Posted November 7, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A Spring Hope woman says she's lucky to be alive after a gas explosion in her house. The blast hurt two people and destroyed her home. Heating experts are warning all of us to have our heating systems checked before we fire them up.

Rubble is all that's left of a Spring Hope home. Neighbors say they heard two explosions, then the crackle of an all-consuming fire.

"I heard this boom, boom, and then I started off to the kitchen and I heard her hollering," says neighbor Ernestine Yarborough.

Rescue crews rushed the homeowner to the hospital and treated neighbor Phillip Allen's hand and face. He suffered burns from more than 100 feet away. The family believes a propane blast is to blame.

Allen says the explosion sounded like dynamite. He rushed around, looked and saw a tree full of smoke. The explosions were so powerful, they destroyed about half of the home next door. The woman who lives there wasn't home at the time, but she believes she would have been hurt, too, if she'd been inside at the time.

Inspector Garry Pridgen says any type of home heating system can be dangerous, and this is the time of year many of us turn them on for the first time. Inspectors don't know if the heater caused the problem here, but they say it certainly could have.

"Some people cut it on and don't think any more about it as long as it's working," Pridgen explains. "But, just because it's working doesn't mean it's safe."

Pridgen says that if nothing else, this should remind us all to have our heaters checked before the cold, and before simple problems become big ones.

Routine heater inspections usually cost about $50 dollars. Experts say your system should be inspected once a year.