SPOKANE, Wash. (KREM) — A North Spokane man is recovering after a natural gas line exploded in his backyard on Saturday night.
Fire officials said the line broke near West Queen and Alberta. They said the gas line exploded from the heat from a nearby fire pit.
A man who lives at the house said he was having a birthday party when the gas line exploded. He said the blast was so strong that it blew him several feet into his fence. The man injured his collarbone but said it could have been a lot worse.
Fire crews worked to control 15-foot flames on Saturday night.
Avista crews said heat from the fire pit caused an underground, plastic gas line to melt. The man who lives at the house said the pit was already there when he moved in.
Spokane fire officials said the situation could have been avoided if someone had checked before they dug the pit.
Avista crews recommended a fire pit be several feet in all directions from a gas line. There was no regulation that stated exactly how far a pit should be from a gas line. In this case, the fire pit was directly on top of the gas line.
Avista crews were eventually able to turn off the gas. They said the fire could have affected at least 70 other nearby homes. Nobody was seriously injured from the explosion.
Avista crews wanted to remind people to call 811 before they dig anywhere. There is a free service that will provide someone to come and locate your gas lines and wires.
A spokesperson said she had never seen anything like the case on Saturday night in her 26 years working for Avista.