Propane tank leak suspected in ECA parking lot truck explosion

Investigators at the scene of Tuesday’s explosion. (Photo by Larry Vogel)

A leak in a propane tank ignited by an unknown fuel source is the likely cause of a U-Haul truck explosion in the Edmonds Center for the Arts parking lot late Tuesday morning, Edmonds police said.

The explosion, which occured in the parking lot’s northeast corner near 6th Avenue and Glen Street at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday, was felt by residents in surrounding buildings and also damaged nearby vehicles. There were no injuries.

The truck had been rented for a family move, and contained private possessions that included propane tanks, a barbecue and firearms. The U-Haul’s driver had parked the truck in the ECA lot while he was doing some work at the church across the street.

Investigators — including the South County Fire Marshal, Edmonds police detectives and representatives from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — were at the scene Tuesday working to determine a cause. Although propane tanks weren’t initially believed to be the source of the explosion, Edmonds police spokesperson Sgt. Josh McClure said Wednesday that investigators determined that there was a leak in one of the tanks and that gas likely built up inside the truck, and that was ignited by an as-yet-undetermined source.

“There appears to be no evidence of any negligence,” McClure said. “It just appeared to be a bad combination of factors.”

The explosion blew out the truck’s panels in all four directions, and the roof was also blown off. Given the force of the blast, it was fortunate there were no injuries, said McClure. Even more fortunate, he added, was the fact that the truck’s owner had been on ferry earlier, and if the explosion had happened on the ferry deck, the results could have been catastrophic.

 

 

 

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