WEST ALEXANDRIA — One West Alexandria family is counting its blessings after a scary fire broke out during a family cook out over Labor Day weekend.
The West Alexandria Fire Department responded to a house fire on Sunday, Sept 6, in the 4000 block of Conley Drive in Lanier Township and quickly called for mutual aid to battle the fire. Thick, black smoke could be seen from the West Alexandria station as firefighters left.
In total, at least four departments responded to the blaze which started, according to a family member who was at the home at the time of the fire, when a propane tank connected to a grill exploded near the house.
Fire departments from West Alexandria, Eaton, Lewisburg and Gratis all responded to the scene as the fire quickly spread from the grill to the house.
Flames could be seen coming from the residence almost an hour after the initial call came in, as fire fighters battled high temperatures along with the flames.
The family member who was at the house during the time of the explosion said everyone at the family cookout was okay, but they feared the house was a total loss.
The family member said the homeowner had just turned food over on the grill when the tank exploded.
She continued by saying one family member attempted to get a fire extinguisher, but the flames had already spread to the home and were quickly out of control.
The resident said the family is lucky no one was hurt during the fire and explosion, noting, “Someone was looking out for us.”
West Alexandria Fire Chief Jeff Shafer said the grill was under a canopy when “apparently some grease dripped down on a leaking propane tank and the fire started.”
Shafer reminded those grilling to have their grills away from their homes and in an open area.
“This fire probably shouldn’t have happened,” he said.
He said the need for mutual aide was due to both the severity of the fire and the high air temperatures as firefighters were quickly being rotated to provide breaks from the heat.
The call for the fire came in around 4:50 p.m. and firefighters were on the scene until at least 10 p.m. Sunday night.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @ aschmidt_RH.