House catches fire after grill ignites propane tanks

Wagram Court

August 3, 2011 4:31:14 AM PDT
A Raleigh homeowner safely escaped his home after his grill went up in flames.

Fifty firefighters were dispatched to a home on Wagram Court in north Raleigh just after 8 p.m.

Stanley Gantman says he had just finished grilling when his grill caught fire.

"When I started it up again," he explained. "It just [went] poof."

He went inside to grab a fire extinguisher and call 911. While inside, he heard two loud pops -- his propane tanks exploding.

The 911 dispatcher instructed the homeowner to exit the home immediately. A neighbor rushed over to help, but the deck was engulfed.

"It was amazing," neighbor Bob Travis said. "It shot up immediately you could see the blue flames."

Another neighbor, Mary Ann Dillon, told her boyfriend to call 911 and then he went to help.

"We ran across the street, and the whole back of the house was on fire around the back deck," Mark Fenton said. "The flames were shooting up between the boards and the deck and then all of the sudden the back of the house just started falling down."

Equipped with a fire extinguisher and a water hose, Gantman and Fenton received life-saving advice over the phone.

"I was more scared that the whole house would come down then 911 says, 'Get the hell out of the house!'" Gantman added.

More than a dozen fire engines responded. Firefighters roped off the entire block because of the potential HAZMAT risk.

Lt. Adam Stanley of the Raleigh Fire Department says fifty percent of the two-story home was destroyed. The home suffered smoke and water damage.

One firefighter was treated for a shoulder injury he sustained while pulling a hose.

Gantman and Fenton escaped unharmed.

"Real lucky, as I said the propane tank you don't know what can happen, you know, if they explode you're a goner," Gantman said.

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