Edmonton

Man survives Alberta propane blast

Douglas Splicer says it's a miracle he survived a propane tank that damaged six homes in Red Deer, Alta.

Blast rattles RCMP detachment, blows down fences and damages homes

Firefighters believe a propane tank inside this rental vehicle was the cause of an explosion that injured two people and damaged six homes. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

A Red Deer man caught in an explosion that rocked a residential neighbourhood in Red Deer, Alta., Sunday morning says he’s lucky to be alive.

Douglas Splicer said he was helping his daughter and son-in-law move their belongings into his home from a rented U-Haul truck parked in the alley when a propane tank from the couple’s BBQ exploded inside the truck.

"When I opened the door, it caused a spark … I turned around, heard a noise and then ‘boom,’ Splicer recalled.

Douglas Splicer was standing right beside the propane tank when it exploded, tossing him into the air. ((CBC News))

The blast, which could be heard blocks away and knocked pictures off the walls of neighbours, tossed Splicer into the air.

"It was just like I was a toy — just like I was nothing but a ragdoll," he said. 

Splicer received first- and second-degree burns to his arms and back and was taken to hospital. He was released three hours later. His son-in-law was treated at the scene for first-degree burns.

Considering the size of the explosion, Spicer said, he considers it a miracle he wasn’t killed.

"I feel like God must have wrapped his arms around me and took the damage," he said. "I mean, I’m lucky to be standing here right now."

Other homes damaged

The explosion was powerful enough to shake windows in buildings hundreds of metres away.

"We actually thought that someone had struck the building. The windows started shaking and you could hear a loud bang noise," said Const. Jeffrey Hewitt, who was working in the RCMP detachment not far from the blast site. Hewitt said a number of fences in the area were blown down and a trailer home nearby appear to have shifted off its base in the explosion.

Investigators say six homes were damaged by the explosion. The scene is no longer considered dangerous and neighbours have been allowed back into their homes.

Police continue to investigate..