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Propane Tank Explodes in Fire

Emergency officials say at least one propane tank exploded in a garage fire Thursday night.

At least one propane tank exploded at a Gulfport home early tonight, causing flames to shoot up in the air and firefighters from four municipalities to respond.

No one was injured in the dramatic blaze, which is still under investigation.

When Gulfport firefighters responded to an emergency call to 29th Avenue South and 53rd Street South, flames were at least 15 feet tall, Lt. Erick Fuchs said tonight.

Emergency officials with Gulfport, St. Petersburg, South Pasadena and Treasure Island were called in to help at around 5:15 Thursday night.

At least three engines battled the flames.

Fuchs saw three propane tanks in the small building and says at least one "exploded," because he saw a "flash" while fighting the fire.

Fuchs was unsure if the homeowner was home at the time; however, fire officials met with him after the fire was put out.

Neighbors Louis and Elaine Amandola, at 2819 53rd St. S., called the non-emergency dispatch number, at 727-893-1030, after a woman banged on their door.

She had alerted them to the fire. Louis and Elaine saw the flames behind their neighbor's home and got out safely. The couple witnessed the flames spreading into their own yard shortly after getting out of their house.

Louis even tried to help by using a garden hose to water down his fence. The Amandolas say they are thankful no one was hurt and that emergency officials responded so quickly.

"We're very grateful for the Gulfport Fire Department," Louis Amandola said.

Check back with Gulfport Patch for updates.

Elizabeth April 12, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Also thanks to the CERT Team for helping direct traffic
elaine amandola April 13, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Louis & I are so BLESSED that the Fire depts got here in time to save our home. Other then smoke smell inside,heat damage to back of house-we are okay. Yes,also thank you to our friends,neighbors,& our great CERT family. Keep in mind-being a CERT member helped us focus and rely on our emergency training!
Cherlene Willis April 13, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Thank you Elaine and Louis for sharing your experience. Your story can help people prepare for disasters and perhaps raise awareness about the benefits of joining CERT. Very glad everyone is ok. Thanks again, Cherlene
Cherlene Willis April 13, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Just talked to Gulfport Fire Chief James Marenkovic who says currently the cause of the fire is undetermined. Marenkovic says the fire happened at 5307 29th Ave S. He says the homeowner and two direct neighbors were all able to go back into their homes last night, the two nearest homes received minor damage.
elaine amandola April 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Feeling good-have my house and we're safe! Still smoke smell in house,but am dealing with it.
elaine amandola April 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Thank you first responders! I recieved a hands on course of our Incident Command System. (IC100&700)
mtober April 13, 2012 at 11:22 PM
So glad that everyone involved is safe!!

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