This winter’s unusual amount of snow has caused plenty of damage across the Treasure Valley and beyond — from crushed roofs to flooded buildings and damaged farms. But in the small town of Council, heavy snowfall caused quite the opposite of ice and cold.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jan. 31, snow caused a fire at a business in the Adams County town, leaving smoke damage throughout the building and fire damage in a storage room, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Insurance. How? The weight of the snow caused a propane pipe to crack both on the exterior of the building and inside the wall, filling the store with propane, the release said.
“Many home and business owners have taken proactive measures to remove snow and ice from their roofs. This particular business owner did just that. Unfortunately, the excess snow from the roof piled along the back side of the building and, unintentionally, against the propane gas pipe to the building,” said Idaho State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl in the release.
Sandahl declined to name the business, though security footage shows the fire unfolding inside what appears to be the storage room. The Adams County Record on Facebook identified the business as the Cenex gas station.
In the security video, an unidentified worker checks the pilot light on a hot water heater after smelling propane while opening the shop. The employee leaves the room, and moments later, a burst of flames rolls across the floor of the business. Soon, smoke and flames are seen pouring from a wall.
Sandahl encouraged home and business owners to check for blocked vent pipes on the outside of buildings after snowfall. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of owning a carbon monoxide detector and having regular inspections of flame-heated appliances. If you smell natural gas or propane inside a building, call 911 from outside the building.