Hunters survive explosion
Men escape serious injuries after heater explodes in camper
October 16, 2001
By RYAN SHERIDAN
Daily Press writer
A camping trailer exploded in Craig early Friday morning while three hunters were asleep inside.
All three survived, but two of the occupants suffered second degree burns.
The camper was parked in front of the Ridgeview Church of God at 690 Riford Rd., and at approximately 2:15 a.m., leaking propane was ignited by an electrical charge.
“It’s amazing they didn’t get hurt worse,” said Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Roy Mason. “They told us the furnace wouldn’t stay lit, so they turned the furnace off, but kept the fridge running. At 2:19 [the call came in that the] camper exploded.”
The Craig Police were the first to arrive on the scene. The officers quickly cordoned off the area and administered aid to Rocky Shrable, Randy Jaques and Paul Boutilier, all from Grand Junction.
Engines 1 and 4 of Craig Fire/Rescue arrived shortly after. The crew from Engine 4 “stabilized the scene, and the Engine 1 crew administered aid and oxygen until the ambulance arrived,” Mason said.
The exact source of both the leak and the ignition is undetermined, and because the scene was so well handled by the officers who first arrived, the fire department was able to conclude there was no criminal element to the accident, so further investigation is unwarranted, said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Johnston.
“The police cordoned off the area and handled the scene very well,” Johnston said. “When we arrived, the situation was under control, and the police were concentrating on patient care.
“What’s amazing to me is that they squirted a fire extinguisher and turned off the propane after the explosion I don’t know how they could have done that after what they had just gone through.”
Both Shrable and Jacques suffered second degree burns, and were transported to the Unversity Hospital Burn Unit in Denver.
Boutilier suffered minor burns on his hands and was treated and released from The Memorial Hospital on Friday.