Explosion near cell tower likely caused by propane leak

Friday, June 11, 2010

The explosion of an equipment building near a Verizon cell tower Tuesday was heard even by residents about one-quarter mile away in Hinton.

"It was a big, giant, loud thud," said Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck.

His fire crew responded to the blaze, which destroyed the about 10-by-30 foot building near the tower on C-60, Beck said.

"The whole building was engulfed," he said. "As near as we can tell, there was a propane leak inside the building, then something in there set off a spark, and it blew up."

The explosion happened about 8:30 p.m. and the Hinton Fire Department was on the scene until after midnight, Beck said.

No one was injured in the explosion or fire.

Merrill Fire Department assisted on the fire call, sending a tanker to the tower site, according to Merrill Fire Chief Bill Merchant.

The equipment building is a total loss, according to Beck.

The tower, however, was not damaged by the fire, he said.

The Hinton Fire Department received a second call Wednesday that the fire at the cell tower was rekindling. The call came at 11:18 p.m. and the crew returned to base at 11:41 p.m.

"There was one little hotspot, they took care of it," Beck said.

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