A Logan County, WV man was killed in an explosion at his home on January 10. First responders were called to the scene in the 4100 block of Whitman Creek Road in Whitman at 2:45 p.m. They arrived within 10 minutes to find the home fully engulfed in flames. The heat from the fire was so intense it melted the siding off a nearby house.
Cora Fire Chief George Hill said the fire escalated so quickly that there would have been little or no time to escape. The 71-year-old man who died was the only person inside the house at the time of the explosion. His body was found near the fireplace.
— Bob Aaron (@BobAaronWCHS) January 11, 2018
Neighbors told local media that the blast shook their homes and made a deafening sound. They rushed to the house try and help but flames roared from every window and door. “It was heartbreaking,” Franklin Darby told WSAZ. He said his neighbor was a “great guy” who took daily walks through the neighborhood.
The Cora Volunteer Fire Department, the Verdunville Volunteer Fire Department and the Logan County Sheriff’s Department all responded to the scene as did Southern Public Services Company, which searched the area for possible gas leaks.
“Residential gas leaks can have devastating effects,” said Fred Pritzker an explosion attorney who represents cleints in personal injury and wrongful death cases. “Sometimes gas leaks are not accompanied by a foul smell,” said Pritzker whose firm, Pritzker Hageman, was won over 70 multimillion-dollar cases for clients nationwide.
Natural gas and propane are odorless. The rotten-egg smell we associate with them is added to serve as a warning if there is a leak. But sometimes the wwrning system doesn’t work. It could be due to odor masking, odor fade or becasue the cut in the gas line may have occurred before the odornat was added, Pritzker said.
This is the second fatal house fire in West Virginia this year, acording to the U.S. Fire Administration. On January 4, three people died in a house fire in Gassaway.