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Watauga fire marshal: House destroyed by blaze, not explosion

Clouds of smoke billow from the blaze that destroyed a home in Watauga County Thursday.
Clouds of smoke billow from the blaze that destroyed a home in Watauga County Thursday.

A 100-year-old Watauga County house was destroyed Thursday by a kerosene-fueled fire, not an explosion, the county fire marshal said.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion at the home in Sugar Grove Thursday afternoon. But that was actually the sound of five propane tanks venting under extreme pressure, Fire Marshal Steve Sudderth said.

Liquid propane tanks have disks that are designed to rupture when the tanks are exposed to intense heat. That vents gas from the tanks and prevents explosions. Neighbors heard the sounds of those safety disks rupturing, Sudderth said.

The fire, which destroyed the home on Peoria Road, was fueled by 150 gallons of kerosene inside the house that were used for heating, the fire marshal said.

“That really kicked it into high gear,” Sudderth said.

It’s not clear how the fire started, Sudderth said.

No one was home at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.

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