Officials: Mass. training incident caused by propane gas buildup

Fire Chief Robert Authier said the explosion was a close call and could have killed firefighters

By FireRescue1 Staff

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. — Officials have concluded that the cause of an explosion during a training incident that injured two firefighters and an instructor was an unexpected buildup of propane gas. 

The state Department of Fire Services reported the October 2016 explosion was caused by an ignition inside a Mobile Live Fire Training Unit. Investigators said the pilot light inside the trailer was unintentionally extinguished, which caused gas and vapor to accumulate inside the unit. The build up prompted an explosion when the stove was lit during the training, reported MassLive.

The explosion caused a flash fire and blew out the trailer’s windows and rear door.

One firefighter suffered burns to his face and another suffered a concussion. The training instructor also suffered minor injuries. 

“It was a close call for everybody,” South Hadley Fire Chief Robert Authier told the publication (shortly after the incident occurred). “It could have been body bags."

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