Propane tanks explode, cause huge fire in Denver

Posted at 10:10 AM, Jan 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-31 16:21:08-05

Half a dozen propone tanks exploded in a van near a Denver home Saturday morning causing a huge house and car fire and a blast so strong, neighbors felt it blocks away.

Firefighters said one of the tanks was launched onto a home across the street and another was found two blocks away.

The home where this happened, on Yuma Street near Zuni Street and Jewell Avenue, belongs to a couple who own a hot air balloon business. They had stored the propane tanks in a van in their driveway.

The couple's home was destroyed, as was the van and two other vehicles. The fire also spread to a neighbor's home, damaging it.

Firefighters said no one was seriously injured or killed.

Neighbor Tammy Abeyta lives two doors down and was woken up by the explosion that sent the pictures on her walls crashing to the floor.

"We came outside, and all I could see was the van engulfed in flames," Abeyta said. "And (the homeowner) was actually in the van trying to move it away from the house."

She said the man got behind the wheel of the flaming van seemingly to try to get it away from his home to keep the fire from further spreading.

Abeyta added that while that man and his wife fled their house, the elderly man who lives next door had not left yet. By that time, the flames had spread and his house was on fire.

"We were worried because he was not coming out," Abeyta said. "People were trying to knock on the door, and he was not coming out. We were really afraid because we can hear the windows on his house exploding. We were really afraid he was not going to make it out OK."

She said the man is partially blind and may not have understood what was going on.

Firefighters got him out of the house safely when they arrived.

"I was so relieved, I started crying. It was pretty emotional," said Abeyta's son, Elias. "He's a really good neighbor, and a really good man, so I'm happy he's out here and safe."

Officials said it is still unknown what caused the propane tanks to explode.


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