EDMONTON ─ A deadly explosion inside a detached garage that killed a man and woman ─ sending a second man to hospital with third-degree burns ─ Monday was caused by a propane-filled heater igniting vapours from a gas tank.
King Wong lives next door to the home at 416 Lee Ridge Rd. and was on his computer when he heard a "very loud" bang. When he looked out his window, he saw flames shooting into the sky behind his garage.
Wong rushed outside to move his car from his garage, fearing it would soon be consumed by the flames. He called 911 and made sure everyone in his home got out safely.
When fire crews arrived around 6:30 p.m., the garage was fully engulfed in flames. Crews had the fire under control by 7:18 p.m. and found a man and woman dead at the scene.
No names have been released, but a friend said a man named Phil Gigou lives at the home with his girlfriend.
According to investigators, the three people were inside the garage doing some repair work on a vehicle. A gasoline tank was removed, falling to the ground and spilling fuel. An open flame from a propane-fuelled heater ignited the gasoline air-vapour mixes, causing the deadly explosion.
One man was able to flee the garage, but the other two were trapped by the flames.
Tom Karpa, fire marshall for Edmonton fire rescue, called the case tragic and preventable.
"Here's an unfortunate circumstance where they had a combination of the wrong elements. They had an open flame, an open propane burner on floor level, which you shouldn't be heating your garage with any way at any time," said Karpa, adding the gas tank should have been completely empty.