EVANS, Ga. – While many residents just got back from their week away, we know one family who returned to a shell of their former home. Authorities have determined the cause of the fire that destroyed the home on Sumter Landing Lane. It all started when a lawn mower hit a gas line, but there are still a few details they need to nailed down. News Channel 6’s Uyen Le has the story.
Investigators are calling the incident a freak accident.
Explosions, that’s what neighbors heard just moments before this home on Sumter Landing Lane was engulfed in fire. One of the first to make the 9-1-1 calls was neighbor Kory Moore.
“I heard a loud crash or like a boom and my brother comes upstairs telling me theirs a fire and at first I didn’t believe him. So I walk downstairs and I see half of his house is in flames so I ran upstairs and called 9-1-1,” says Moore.
The Moore’s are close friends with the homeowners, who were out-of-town for the week…
“I was so scared the flames were going to get our house because the wind was blowing towards that house,” says Tanner Moore.
Investigators say a landscaping company was mowing the lawn, when one of the mowers ruptured a gas line connected to this 100 pound propane tank, which caused a leak and ignited the tank.
“It was a propane tank that was outside the structure, which is not normal instance for the area around there,” says Chief Jimmie Paschal, with Columbia County Fire Department.
Days later investigators are still looking into the details of how exposed the gas line was for a mower to be able to come into close contact with it. Chief Paschal says gas lines need to be buried at a proper depth for safety.
“Anytime you’re around any dangerous chemicals, propane, gas or anything like that, you want to be safe, make sure they’re secure, and make sure they’re not a hazard.”
The house next door had renters in town for Masters Week, that home had its windows blown out from the explosion and siding melted.