Gas leak causes South Chesterfield home to go up in flames

CHESTERFIELD, Va (WRIC) —  A leaking propane heater is the cause of the fire that occurred in South Chesterfield Sunday afternoon.

According to Assistant Chief John Boatwright, the fire on the 21700 block of Hill Street was caused by a gas leak in the home. The propane heater was leaking gas until it eventually exploded.

Neighbor Gage Elder said he felt the explosion shake his entire house.

“It stunned me when I felt it on the ground in the kitchen,” said Elder. “Our salt shaker fell off the table. When I ran outside, my mom ran outside with no shoes on and we’re looking around and I see this house fire.”

The explosion was so loud, even the fire station down the road felt it.

Capture fire petersburg“The station being only about two streets over the crew felt the explosion, it shook the building,” said Asst. Chief Boatwright.  “They quickly came out of the building noticed the heavy smoke in the area and quickly mounted the apparatus before the first dispatch even came out.”

Assistant Chief Boatwright says they got multiple 911 calls all describing the same thing.

Elder made one of those calls.

“They’re like what’s your emergency,” said Elder. “I’m like house fire and it blew up, Hill Street, Matoaca.”

Firefighters were there within three minutes of the explosion

“We quickly learned that the resident  here was out of town for the day and we had no life safety issues to deal with but a large amount of fire,” said Assistant Chief Boatwright.

“It was just shocking,” said Elder. “I didn’t expect that at all on a Sunday.”

The fire was under control within an hour, but crews stayed on scene into the early evening.

The homeowner was away at the time of the fire. There were no injuries.

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