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Unified Fire Authority firefighters spray down a shell of what used to be a motor home Saturday afternoon at Snowbird. A family from Tennessee drove to Utah in the RV. Police believe the propane tank may have caused the explosion leading to the fire. Out of the family of four only one person was injured with second-degree burns. Courtesy Andrew Johnson
Man injured when motor home explodes at Snowbird

First Published Jul 07 2012 01:15 pm • Last Updated Oct 30 2012 11:31 pm

A family from Tennessee is lucky to be alive after the mobile home they rented and drove across the country exploded and began to burn while they were still inside.

Firefighters believe a leaky propane tank may be to blame for the small explosion that caught the mobile home on fire in the parking lot of Snowbird Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Saturday.

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One person was injured with burns, but the rest escaped unscathed. The RV — estimated at $100,000 — is a total loss.

"It is really destroyed," said Unified Fire Authority Capt. Michael Greensides.

At about noon a report of a fire came from the area of the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird, according to Greensides.

The family of four rented the newer model motor home from Memphis, Tenn., and drove to Snowbird to stay at the lodge. When the husband got out to check into their room he heard a "hissing sound" and several pops, Greensides said. He went to the back of the RV to check when he saw a large flame flash in front of him.

"Apparently [the propane tank] caught fire and flashed," Greensides said. The accident is under investigation.

A UFA station captain at a nearby station heard the explosion and "saw the man laying on the ground with burns on his body and the motor home on fire," Greensides said.

The man, in his 30s, sustained second-degree burns to the lower half of his body and was transported by helicopter to University Hospital.

It took crews about 20 minutes to put out the fire. All that was left was a charcoal metal frame.

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"It could have been a lot worse," Greensides said.

The man’s wife, also in her 30s, and her two children were able to escape just in time. "When they got out there were flames coming from underneath," Greensides said.

The accident is a reminder, Greensides said, to make sure there aren’t any leaks on your motor home and make sure you have something nearby to extinguish the flames.


Twitter: @CimCity

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