Propane explosion leaves man in critical condition
By Ivy Vogel
Post Independent Staff
A 54-year-old Silt man remains in critical condition after his trailer exploded April 16.
Robert Leo Corrigan burned 97 percent of his body in a propane gas explosion.
Corrigan, who hitched his trailer to a lot in Green Diamond Campground, was in the shower when his trailer exploded.
Earlier in the day, Corrigan changed his propane refrigerator to a gas refrigerator but did not properly disconnect the propane line, officials think.
As a result, propane, which is a vapor gas, filled Corrigan’s trailer. When he turned on the hot water in the shower the flame from the water heater ignited the methane gas in the trailer. No one else was hurt in the explosion.
Corrigan’s sister, Jennifer Sutter of Washington, said Corrigan is in a critical care unit. He’s received a tracheotomy and is trying to fight an infection, Sutter said.
No further information on Corrigan was available.
When used correctly, propane is safe for household use. Propane has a narrow range of flammability and can’t be ingested like gasoline, according to the National Propane Gas Association. Propane gas is also more cost efficient than natural gas and has a longer life span.
Propane explosions occur when gas lines leak or when installation is done incorrectly.
A distinctive-smelling odorant has been added to propane to help detect gas leaks. Anyone who smells the odor should leave the area until the source of the smell is determined and a propane expert is contacted.
“The best advice I can give to anyone who needs to disconnect a propane line is to make sure the work is performed by a hired professional,” said Bruce Swiecicki, senior technical advisor to the National Propane Gas Association.
Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. 534
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