Assessing damagesSome said the colossal blast sounded like a plane crash. Others thought it was an earthquake or car accident.
Some said the colossal blast sounded like a plane crash. Others thought it was an earthquake or car accident.
After an early morning propane explosion Friday in Dickinson’s West Industrial Park jolted many residents out of bed, damage assessments and cleanup have begun.
Dickinson Rural Fire Department Chief Curt Lefor said propane gas had been leaking from an unknown source on two hot oil trucks belonging to B & B Hot Oil Services Inc, which were parked in half the building.
A fire, of which the ignition source is unknown, started in the building and the massive explosion occurred just after 4:30 a.m.
“I just wish I could go back in time and do things a little differently,” said Blane Fugere, owner of B & B Hot Oil Services.
Throughout a warm Saturday afternoon, cars filled with curious onlookers trying to catch a glimpse of the destruction consistently blanketed U.S. Highway 10 leading to the blast site.
Richard Jordan and his family live less than half a mile from where the explosion occurred and its shockwaves woke everyone in the house.
“I was hanging off the ceiling at 4:27 in the morning going, ‘What in the hell,’ and then it was all quiet,” Jordan said. “I honestly thought that a motor or some part of a plane fell on the roof right above the bedroom area, it sounded that intense.”
After opening the door to a shop adjacent to his home, Jordan noticed it was filled with dust.
“You can see the building straight kitty-corner from here and I saw a 4-foot diameter flame in the corner and that was it,” Jordan said.
After driving up to the site, the initial shock took a moment to become a reality.
“I stared at it and it just wasn’t sinking in,” Jordan said. “This building was here last night and now it’s gone. I didn’t even think explosion. By that time, the police started showing up.”
Jordan said the blast’s backlash sucked in four large garage doors on his shop, only to push them back out, bending their centers in the process.
Large ceiling lights were blown off along with a 200-pound dragster chassis.
Jordan’s home sustained damage as well.
False ceiling panels were shaken out, mirrors and pictures blew off the wall, a bathroom wall and the ceramic tile bathroom floor cracked.
Jesse Zeller of Zeller Construction said at about 4 a.m. Friday he was sitting at his home computer on West Broadway Street when his house began to shake.
Shortly thereafter, on his way out of town for work, Zeller stopped at Frankie’s West Side Conoco and unexpectedly learned a bit more about the blast he felt.
“One of the guys from the next door shop said ‘Well, I hope we can get to our shops,’ and I’m like, ‘Well what do you mean?’” Zeller said.
Pressure cracked a doorframe and sheetrock at Zeller Construction’s shop, which is next door to Jordan’s residence.
A steel air hose reel mounted to the wall was bent at an angle.
Zeller said his family thinks the walls were sucked in then bowed back out by the intense force.
A steel workbench filled with heavy tools and materials was moved about an inch, most likely from the walls moving.
Reports swirled that residents in Lakeview Estates, about a mile east of the blast zone, suffered damage including blown out windows, but calls to several residents went unreturned.
Attempts to contact Dan Krebs and Steve Forster, owners of the building that exploded, were unsuccessful Saturday.
Local insurance agents have begun to receive phone calls about property damage.
Dickinson State Farm Insurance Agent Todd Otto said he received a few phone calls from residents whose property was damaged from the blast.
“I had one with a boat that was damaged that was in storage out there, that’s probably the most significant one,” Otto said.
A minor collapse of a porch was also reported, Otto said.
A sort of conundrum exists in insurance coverage for the damage.
Typically, liability insurance for responsible parties only pays out depreciated value to those affected by the incident, Otto said.
Property owners also have the option of turning in a claim to their own insurance as most homeowner’s policies have some form of replacement cost built in, Otto said.