Authorities say they have concluded that an accidental propane leak led to explosions and a fire that killed three people and injured four others in a Barrow County home early Saturday morning.
In a social media post Monday evening, Barrow County Fire Emergency Services officials said an investigation by its Fire Marshal's Office showed that a large propane tank, typically used for recreational vehicles, was brought into the house on Hidden Acres Road northwest of Winder to supply a single-burner cooking eye. Officials said the connecting hose and couplings were not compatible and the dispensing regulator was not correct, leading to a "significant" leak.
A wood burning stove was also in use about 10 to 15 feet away from the tank. The fire in that stove is what is believed to have caused a large explosion that started the ordeal.
The fire that started as a result of that initial explosions led to multiple other explosions inside the home. The case has been listed as an accidental fire by Barrow County authorities.
The initial report from fire officials indicated that three people had been injured in addition to the three fatalities, however the most recent release from the department indicates a fourth person was also injured.
Original story posted March 13 at 5:30 a.m.:
Three people were found dead and three more were injured after a fire and explosions at a home in Barrow County early Saturday morning.
Barrow County Emergency Services said crews were called to the scene on Hidden Acres Road in the north end of the county just after midnight. When they arrived, Chief Alan Shuman said explosions could be seen coming from the home.
"As firefighters arrived quickly, multiple explosions were going off inside the home," Shuman said. "The home was fully involved in fire and was collapsing as a result of the fire. Several vehicles were also involved.”
Firefighters started fighting the blaze and once they entered the home, they found several propane cylinders inside, which fire officials said led to the explosions. Three people were found dead inside the house.
Three more people were hospitalized, with one having to be taken from the scene by helicopter.
"This is a very tragic event that resulted in loss of life and injuries to others," Shuman said. “The firefighters and medical personnel on the scene did a great job under the circumstances. We also want to remind citizens that it is extremely dangerous to have propane cylinders stored in your home, or any other structure.”
Barrow County Emergency Service’s Fire Marshal Office is investigating the incident with help from the Georgia Fire Marshal’s Office and the Barrow County Sheriff Office.