Propane Leak Focus of Nantucket House Explosion
Investigators are focusing on a propane leak as the potential source of Thursday's catastrophic house explosion and fire on the island of Nantucket.
On Friday evening, Nantucket Fire Chief Stephen A. Murphy and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced the update concerning the investigation into the November 12 house explosion and fire at 11 Woodbury Lane in Nantucket.
Three houses were damaged by fire and at least 15 more were damaged by the noontime explosion. Damages are estimated at $15 million. One person was injured and taken to a Boston hospital where they are in stable condition, the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services said in a media release.
The incident is being jointly investigated by Nantucket fire and police departments and state police assigned to the State Fire Marshal's Office. Code compliance officers from the Department of Fire Services are assisting. Insurance investigators will be conducting separate but parallel investigations, the DFS said.
Investigators will work to determine the source of the leak and how it traveled. Given the damage, the exact ignition source may not be known, as it could have been any pilot light, open flame or spark from a compressor, the DFS said. The Code Compliance investigation is also ongoing.
“There should be no concern that this a widespread issue, and Nantucket residents should have confidence in their propane systems, especially if they use a licensed professional to service permitted systems,” said Murphy in a statement. “Propane has an odorant in it that smells like rotten eggs. If you smell it, leave your home without touching light switches and call 9-1-1 from outside.”