Editor's note: this story first appeared at www.tetonvalleynews.net on Thursday, March 7.
Teton County Fire Chief Bret Campbell said last week that while the investigation into the explosion that sent one man to the hospital is still under investigation, the department has determined that propane was the fuel source that caused the accident last Saturday.
Rodney Taylor remains in critical condition at the University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City after suffering injuries from a Saturday morning explosion in a detached woodworking shop next to his home on 4500 West.
Campbell recognized two individuals who came to the Taylors’ aid immediately after the explosion; Bart Kunz and Casey Kunz were first on the scene after they heard the explosion. Campbell said Casey called 911 and the two men moved Taylor from the wreckage of his woodshed away from a fire that was burning. The two men covered Taylor with blankets and laid him on a dry piece of wood keeping him off the snow while emergency crews were en route.
“I am really very appreciative of them,” said Campbell of Casey and Bart.
The blast, which could be felt through the southwest side of the valley, occurred in the early morning, alerting neighbors. Campbell said the fire department was en route at 9:06 a.m. Saturday morning after the Sheriff’s Office dispatch managed a high volume of 911 calls from people who had heard the blast and saw the smoke coming from the Taylor’s woodshed with the first 911 call coming in 8:57 a.m. Campbell said the first fire unit arrived at 9:15 a.m.
The first fire units on scene were faced with the possibility of live electrical wires still on the ground after the blast. Campbell said the fire members were able to get to Taylor safely and start treatment before moving him to an ambulance while Air Idaho was en route.
Fall River Electric spokesperson Ted Austin said blast broke a power pole and brought down the electric line to the woodshed. He added that the line was a general distribution line that brought power from the pole to the house and not a transmission line.
Taylor’s wife was in the main house when the blast occurred. She was not injured in the accident. Campbell said the side of the main house was blown off in the blast.
In an email to the Teton Valley News Tuesday, Taylor’s niece Sara Damewood said, “Rodney Taylor is still in critical care at the burn unit in Utah. He has undergone one surgery thus far. No other family members were physically injured in the explosion. There are still no definitive answers as to what caused the explosion. We would like to thank everyone for their support and concern.”
Campbell said the fire departments hearts and prayers are with the Taylor family.
“We hope Mr. Taylor heals quickly,” said Campbell.