At 5:37 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, the Eva Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 2145 Sales Landing Road in Camden. What initially appeared to be a typical house fire quickly escalated into something much more hazardous.
The family was in the residence when the fire started, a recently widowed mother and her children. Reportedly she heard a strange noise in the back of the house, went to investigate, and upon seeing a blaze immediately evacuated the home. In the rapid exit, the family’s dog ran away, but later was located and reunited with his people.
In addition to the Eva VFD, firefighters from the City of Camden and Sandy River stations also responded to the location to provide additional manpower and water. A total of three engines and three tankers were present to combat the blaze.
As crews started to arrive, a “walk around” was conducted to assess the hazards present at the scene. The fireman doing the walk around reported that he did not see a gas meter or propane tank attached to the house.
The fire was coming out of the front of the house and rolling underneath the front porch. Firefighters started putting water on the structure and began making their way inside the home. Once inside, they unexpectedly encountered a loss of water pressure so they started making their way back out of the home. Suddenly, an unexpected event happened.
“Little did we know, tucked away inside the closed garage was a 500-gallon propane tank that started to vent. This was not your ordinary structure fire!” said Eva Fire Chief David Tuck. “Once the tank vented it added so much more fuel to the fire, making it difficult to fight. If the loss of water pressure had not happened, causing our firefighters to exit the structure, it could have been a whole lot worse for those who had been inside the house.”
Tuck encourages homeowners to be thoughtful about items stored inside garages, as to whether the item presents an increased risk to the structure or residents in regard to fire.
“Please think about what you are storing in an enclosed area. Unusual things like this large propane tank this put responders and bystanders at risk when they respond to emergencies,” Tuck said. “We regret that so much damage was caused to the home, but the outcome of our intervention could have been much worse. We send thoughts and prayers out to the family affected by this incident and are thankful that no one was injured in the course of this fire.”
In addition to the home, which was a total loss, a camper trailer and a vehicle also were damaged by the fire. According to Tuck, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, the fire inspector evaluated the scene and noted that the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.