This story is updated.
A shorefront home on Alamoosook Lake exploded and caught fire Friday morning, injuring four people who were at the house.
One person with serious but non life-threatening injuries was transported by Life Flight helicopter to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, according to Shannon Moss, spokesperson for Maine Department of Public Safety.
Three other adults — one with serious injuries and the other two with minor injuries — were transported to the same Bangor hospital by ambulance, she said.
The people taken to the Bangor hospital were the two homeowners and two adults who are friends of the homeowners. Additional information about their names was unavailable Friday afternoon but, according to the town’s tax records, the property is owned by the “Giard Family.”
A Newfoundland dog named Zeus that was outside the home fled immediately after the explosion, but was found later safe and sound, according to the Orland Fire Department’s Facebook page.
Conary said a tenant who lived in a garage apartment at the property called 911 a few minutes after 9 a.m. Friday to report the explosion. The garage was not attached to the house, but was damaged by the fire that ignited after the explosion, he said.
“We thought there were people still trapped inside the building,” Conary said of firefighters who first arrived on the scene. “The building had come apart. This is what you see, but it wasn’t actually on fire yet.”
About 10 minutes after firefighters arrived, something inside the rubble caught fire and quickly spread, he said. There likely was still a large amount of escaped propane in the rubble, which fueled the blaze.
“They had smelled propane for a day or two — a light smell of propane,” Conary said. “It sounds like they went to use an appliance and didn’t have any propane” to turn it on.
Someone went to check the home’s large propane tank, which is outside behind a nearby shed. After determining the tank had lost a “massive” amount of propane, shut the tank off and then went back inside the house to try to find where it might have leaked out, Conary said.
Then “something in the residence ignited it and caused the explosion”, he said. “Everything here including the patio lights were all propane fired. Everything was connected by propane.”
At around noon, firefighters from multiple towns were spraying water on the burning pile of rubble left behind by the blast.
A stiff wind was blowing off Alamoosook Lake, whipping smoke from the lakefront property north toward Soper Road and neighboring properties.
Very little remained standing, except for a few posts and wall studs damaged and charred by the blast. A pickup truck parked between the destroyed house and the garage had some of its exterior plastic melt away because of the intense heat.
Debris including broken glass, pieces of wood and shattered and twisted window frames were scattered all over the yard between the lake’s edge and where the house had stood.
Conary said that any suspected propane leak, or even a minor smell, should be taken seriously.
“Get your propane tech in there,” he said. “Don’t wait around.”