Tipped lantern burns Ridge house quickly | TheUnion.com
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Tipped lantern burns Ridge house quickly

A tipped propane lantern caused the rapid destruction of a San Juan Ridge house Thursday, according to firefighters.

Gene Nunley, 21, and his girlfriend were building a fire at 20520 Walls Flat Road, north of Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, while using the lantern to illuminate their 500-square-foot, A-frame house, according to Al Hoffmeyer of the North San Juan Fire Protection District.



The lantern was connected to a five-gallon tank, which tipped, breaking off the lantern, said Hoffmeyer, the district’s fire prevention bureau chief.




The lantern ignited the propane, and a burst of flame blew out the windows.

Nunley and his girlfriend escaped with their dogs and called 911 from a house next door, but with the closest fire station 15 miles away, the house burned to the ground before North San Juan firefighters arrived, Chief Boyd Johnson said.

A fresh layer of hail on the roads made it tough going for district fire trucks, Johnson added, and the house was in a canyon, near the Middle Yuba River.

Hoffmeyer said the couple will be staying with family members who live nearby. He said the house was owned by Nunley’s grandfather, Art Nunley.


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