Surveillance Video: Too much snow leads to propane fire at Council business

Surveillance video released by state investigators shows the moment a propane fire ignited at a Council area business.

And it all started, officials say, because of too much snow.

On Jan. 31, firefighters were called out to a local business for a report of a structure fire. After an investigation, the state fire marshal concluded that excess snow from the roof piled along the back side of the building and against a propane gas pipe that was being fed into the business.

The added weight and shifting of the snow pile caused the pipe to crack, along with the interior wall, which allowed propane to fill into the building.

“Many parts of Idaho have received record-breaking snowfall since mid-December. Roof collapses have dominated the media, especially in the lower Treasure Valley,” said Idaho State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl.

Safety recommendations for home and business owners:

• Walk around the perimeter of your home during and after snowfall and check for blocked vent pipes. Furnaces, dryers, and other flame-heated appliances are often vented to the outside through walls. Blocked vent pipes could cause deadly amounts of carbon monoxide to build up inside your home or building.

• A carbon monoxide detector is always a must if your house or building has any appliance heated by flame.

• Have flame-heated appliances checked and inspected regularly by a qualified technician. Loose fittings, cracks in piping, and other issues can be found and corrected before a tragedy occurs.

• Finally, if you happen to smell natural gas or propane, leave the building and call 911 from outside or from a neighbor’s home.

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