Experts Recommend Monitoring Gas And Propane Fireplace Lighters

Friday, September 25th 2020, 5:58 pm
By: Hunter McKee


Investigators said a log lighter may have contributed to a northeast Oklahoma City house explosion that killed a teenager and injured three other people.

The explosion killed 14-year-old Berklee Maguire. Three of Maguire’s family members are still being treated in the hospital. 

According to the Oklahoma State Liquified Petroleum Gas Administration, a log lighter within the home's fireplace could have been a cause of the explosion on Thursday morning.

The agency said the log lighter did not have a 100 percent pilot safety shutoff which may have led to multiple rooms in the home filling up with propane gas, leading to the explosion.

“Propane is more dangerous because it does sit down low and it could build up a lot more before you could smell it,” Rick’s House of Fire President Scott Jackson said.

Home inspection professionals said propane gas can lead to a stronger explosion when it ignites, but they said instances like Thursday’s explosion are rare.

“It's maybe we find one once a year that is really bad when we get out there and say, ‘Hey, you can't use your unit until you get this addressed,’” Jackson said.

Experts said log lighters like these are banned in homes that use propane. They said it's important to know how your log lighter was installed.

“There's a lot of homemade ones in homes,” Jackson said. “When talking to a lot of homeowners, they don't know that those are actually homemade. They just see the pipe, and it works.”

It will likely be weeks before we know exactly what caused the explosion.