Propane fire damages Donner Summit home |

Propane fire damages Donner Summit home

A relatively minor propane fire on Donner Summit on Wednesday could teach some big lessons for people who use the fuel source, said a Donner Summit Fire Department official.

The fire was caused by a plumbing failure on the underground propane system at 3122 Donner Drive, said Donner Summit fire Chief Doug Rinella.

A neighbor reported smoke coming from the house at 6:20 p.m. Firefighters responded from Donner Summit and Truckee fire departments, and the fire was contained within an hour, with roughly $5,000 in damage, Rinella said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

“There were two fortunate things with this incident,” Rinella said. “One is that it was reported early. The second is that the fire burned through the water line under the house,” thereby sparing the structure from more damage.

The house was undergoing a remodel, and fire investigators are inspecting the propane system’s plumbing for possible code violations, Rinella said.

People who have or installing propane systems should be careful all the lines are tight and clear of snow loads, Rinella said.

The fire was the third fire caused by propane in the past year in the Truckee-Donner Summit area. Earlier this year, a fire that ignited under a 30,000-gallon propane tank in Coachland Mobile Home Park, causing 20-foot flames and prompting the temporary evacuation of the park’s residents.

Almost one year ago to date a Donner Summit house ” with no propane connection ” exploded after propane from a neighboring home leaked under the snow and into the house, according to reports. Investigators discovered the neighboring house, located approximately 60 feet away, was connected to a propane tank buried under 10 – 12 feet of snow.

That incident served as a lesson for above-ground propane tank users, Rinella said.

“We encourage folks to keep their propane tanks clear of snow,” he said. “Be sure and dig them out.”

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