Posted: Mar 9, 2012 4:30 PM by Dax VanFossen (KAJ News)
Updated: Mar 12, 2012 12:52 PM
KALISPELL- The Kalispell Fire Department reports that a loud explosion destroyed a Kalispell home early Friday morning and claimed the life of 57-year-old resident John Parsons.
No one else was hurt in the blast and quick action by firefighters saved the neighboring homes. Neighbor Shelby Zachary says the explosion was intense.
"I thought a car hit my house, it was just a sonic boom, then I looked out the window and seen this big orange glow. I think everyone I talked to here, I think they felt it rattling their homes."
Shelby wasn't alone, several neighbors told us they were awakened by the explosion which sent debris throughout the neighborhood.
The massive flames seen in the pictures in the attached video were taken by neighbor Bob Sherry who lives over a block away and said there was insulation and siding in his front lawn.
Kalispell Fire Chief Dave Dedman says their crews were quick to react to the situation.
"Initial arriving crews found debris and a fully engulfed home, they took to defensive operations, protected the neighboring structures, then of course isolated the fire to where it started."
It's still not clear what caused this explosion and house fire on 9th Avenue West with neighbor Shelby Zachary saying the fire produced several explosions, including bullets going off.
"I came over then and we were all standing out here and a policeman walked by and said "You know that's live ammo" And we all kinda figured that, so he basically didn't want anyone getting very close, well I wouldn't have anyway."
Chief Dedman says the houses were fairly close together, so there was a danger to other structures.
"You know there was....but surprisingly enough, not a lot of damage to them. Even with the blast debris, there wasn't a lot of damage."
The blast was significant and insulation lining was found up to four blocks away. Investigators say they do not suspect foul play and that the fire remains under investigation.