2014-06-25 / Front Page

Wauseon Man In Serious Condition After House Explodes Monday

by David Pugh
Buckeye Staff Writer


A propane explosion damaged a home near downtown Wauseon, Monday afternoon, June 23. Top: The back, or west, wall of the home is partially torn away from the structure and windows are blown out. Right: Archbold firefighters stand by among the debris. Note the storm door blown off the house and embedded in the ground vertically.– photos by Mary Huber A propane explosion damaged a home near downtown Wauseon, Monday afternoon, June 23. Top: The back, or west, wall of the home is partially torn away from the structure and windows are blown out. Right: Archbold firefighters stand by among the debris. Note the storm door blown off the house and embedded in the ground vertically.– photos by Mary Huber Eric Dominique, 137 Clinton Street, Wauseon, was in serious condition at the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo, after an explosion in the basement of his home, Monday, June 23.

Rick Sluder, Wauseon Fire Department chief, said firefighters at the WFD station heard the explosion, then looked out and saw a dust cloud.

The Dominique house is just a few hundred feet south of the fire station.

The first radio report, at about 4:37 pm, gave the location as the corner of West Elm and Clinton Streets.

West Elm Street is also St. Rt. 2 leading into downtown Wauseon.

The next report gave the correct address.

Sluder said Dominique was able to extricate himself from the basement.

Then firefighters saw two girls, ages four and five, step out of the house.

At that point, firefighters called for ambulances from Wauseon, Delta, and Archbold.

The Archbold Fire Department also sent a fire engine and crew, and Morenci sent its Rapid Intervention Team, Sluder said.

E. Dominique was taken by ambulance to the helipad at the Fulton County Health Center, then flown by helicopter ambulance to St. Vs.

There were two other adults in the house: Patricia Dominique, Eric’s wife, and another, unidentified adult.

Sluder said he could not release the names of the children, because doing so would be releasing confidential medical information.

He did, however, say the children were Eric and Patricia’s grandchildren.

He did not have the name of the other adult.

P. Dominique and the other adult were evaluated at the scene by rescue workers, but declined further treatment.

The two children were taken to FCHC, where they were treated and released.

Cause

Sluder said Tuesday morning the cause of the blast is being officially listed as undetermined, but E. Dominique told firefighters he was attempting to cut into a propane tank, which exploded.

Firefighters found the tank, and it bore the marks of some type of mechanical cutting instrument such as an abrasive wheel.

A cutting torch was not involved, Sluder said.

The explosion blew windows out of the house– in some cases while they were still in their structural framework.

The back, or west, wall was partially torn away, and the foundation was severely damaged.

There was no fire, but Sluder said firefighters used hoses on some areas of smoke and dust as a precaution.

Sluder said the house is considered structurally unsound. No one is allowed to enter.

The structure will be turned over to the Dominiques’ insurance company.

Sluder said fire and police officials have not taken time to ask why E. Dominique was cutting into a propane tank.

Response

In addition to fire and rescue crews, an investigator of the State Fire Marshall office was called in, because Sluder said that office investigates all explosions.

Fire Marshall investigators called for a hazardous materials squad.

The Toledo Fire Department HazMat unit came to the scene. Using cameras and sensors on long poles, they remotely checked and determined there was no hazardous materials danger.

Propane

Sluder said storing propane in a house is not a good idea.

Propane, a heavier-thanair gas, lays low to the ground.

Pilot lights for furnaces, water heaters, and other appliances are also located low, providing a potential source of ignition.

And even though a propane tank may be “empty,” there is still residual vapor inside.

Sluder said this is the first such explosion in the city of Wauseon he can recall, but in the early 1990s, there was a house explosion caused by propane in rural Fulton County.

Recently, there have been a few home explosions in the area, including a September blast in Liberty Center that killed one and injured another.

Return to top