Batteries likely cause of fire that led to big explosions in Kamloops

The April 8 blasts erupted from the backyard of 370 Linden Ave. at about 5:30 p.m., during which two structures — a detached garage and a shed directly behind it — were destroyed by flames. There were no injuries reported.

Charging batteries appear to have been the cause of a shed fire that led to explosions heard around North Kamloops last Thursday (April 8).

The blasts erupted from the backyard of 370 Linden Ave. at about 5:30 p.m. during which two structures — a detached garage and a shed directly behind it — were destroyed by flames.

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No one was injured in the incident, according to Kamloops Fire Rescue.

KFR fire investigator Deal Olstad told KTW they believe the fire began by way of a malfunction with batteries being charged inside the shed.

“Whether they overheat and the battery blows up and starts the fire or the charger malfunctions … I don’t know. There’s nothing left of [the shed] to determine [which], but it’s something to do with that process,” Olstad said.

He said there were a number of flammable items in the structure, such as aerosol cans and small, gas-powered equipment.

After the fire started, a loud explosion occurred and ripped through the shed.

“It was quite a blast. It took the shed apart, the roof came down,” homeowner Mark Krug told KTW at the scene of the explosion, which knocked him off his feet.

The source of that initial explosion, however, is unknown due to the extensive fire damage.

“At some point we do have an explosion in there, so we need to have some sort of rapid vaporization of something — there’s something under pressure, something wants to be released. Whether it’s a compressed gas in a spray can or gasoline vapours in the onboard gas tank of small equipment, I can’t tell you. There’s nothing left to look at,” Olstad said.

One neighbour reported hearing a number of small pops before that loud blast, which Oldstad said were likely aerosol cans rupturing.

Krug told KTW he heard about two or three explosions and noted he had a propane tank and oxyacetylene tank between his shed and the detached garage.

Fire investigators, however, did not find any propane tanks.

Olstad confirmed a ruptured oxyacetylene tank between the sheds as the cause of a second explosion that occurred as the flames spread.

Krug and his family, who all escaped unscathed, were clear of the blast by then, which occurred just as firefighters were arriving.

“We’ve got a fire that started up with a process of recharging batteries, which leads to a shed fire, which leads to an explosion of some sort — what exactly was involved we’re not sure — and then that fire grows and that also involves an oxyacetylene tank that’s outside. And, at some point, it ruptures and explodes, too,” Olstad said.

The fire spread to the detached garage, the north side of which was heavily damaged by flames, but there wasn’t too much damage to the contents within it, Olstad said.

The home at 370 Linden Ave. and a neighbouring house sustained damage in the form of some cracked windows, Olstad said, noting the fire was out by just after 6 p.m.

© Kamloops This Week



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