Loud explosion heard Tuesday morning in Grass Valley caused by propane tank in fire | TheUnion.com

Loud explosion heard Tuesday morning in Grass Valley caused by propane tank in fire

Neighbors of a Penstock Drive home that erupted in flames Tuesday morning knew they should leave when they heard the propane tank explode.

The fire on the back deck of 509 Penstock Drive reached the tank as firefighters raced to the scene. The explosion was heard over a mile away.

No one was injured and no other buildings damaged. Two cats died in the fire, said Jim Smith, a battalion chief with the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District.

The cause of the blaze is unknown, he added.

"Next thing I knew — Boom," said Paul Rizzato, who lives next door. "I'm getting out of the house as fast as I can."

Police officers came to Rizzato's front door moments later. Sitting across the street from his home over an hour later, Rizzato watched as firefighters carried items from his neighbor's home.

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"I just heard the explosions," said Deb Prentice, who lives across the street. "I started getting ready to evacuate if necessary."

Firefighters responded around 7:15 a.m. to the blaze. The fire had reached about half the home by the time they arrived, Smith said.

"All the occupants got out of the house before our arrival," Smith added.

According to Smith, the fire began on the back deck. It moved up the back wall and into the attic.

"It just ran through the attic," he said.

Smith estimated that the fire damaged 85 percent of the home. Firefighters saved the garage, which held several belongings. The blaze touched some nearby vegetation, though the neighboring homes escaped the fire, he said.

Smith's district, along with the Nevada City and Grass Valley fire departments, responded to the scene.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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