Authorities Investigate Fire in Redbank Township, Damages Estimated at $80k

REDBANK TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Clarion-based State Police say an investigation was conducted following a fire that occurred around 5:43 p.m. on November 12 at 142 Pine Cone Drive, in Redbank Township, Clarion County.

Police say John Shirey reported that he was inside his residence during a period when the power was fluctuating due to heavy winds. His power was out for a period, and approximately 30 seconds after power came back on, he heard a loud explosion from outside. He found that his garage sustained heavy damage and was smoking; he contacted 911, and the fire department responded but discovered no fire upon their arrival. Light smoke and charring was present.

According to police, the PA State Police Fire Marshal Unit was requested to conduct an origin and investigation. It was determined that an explosion originated within the garage with the highest concentration of the blast emanating from within a Pontiac Firebird in the center of his garage, most likely from a methane or natural gas leak into the interior of the garage and car. Blast patterns coupled with char/heat patterns were present to support this conclusion.garage-fire

Police say representatives from Columbus Gas of PA were summoned to the scene to attempt to determine if there was any gas present in any amount. The homeowner was utilizing natural gas; however, Columbia Gas did have a gas line in front of the home along Pine Cone Drive.

Several Columbia Gas representatives were dispatched and concluded testing and determined that there were no leaks within their lines; however, they went so far as to conduct ground testing around the Shirey garage and detected varying amounts of gas in the ground, according to police.

D.E.P. Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation and D.E.P. District of Oil and Gas Operations were then contacted to determine the source of the gas. This investigation is still underway, police say.

Damages to the garage and its contents include a Firebird, a Corvette, three motorcycles, and a Polaris Razr and are estimated at $80,000.00, according to police.

Shirey has insurance on the garage and the motor vehicles, police say.

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