A 74-year-old man removing cobwebs with a blowtorch caused an explosion that burned down his shed in eastern Iredell County Wednesday afternoon.
Henry Wayne Gurley said he routinely uses a propane torch to burn spider webs around his home and shed at 122 Brown Farms Drive off Triplett Road.
He’s done it that way for 16 years, and never had any issue, he said.
While performing the task on Wednesday evening, Gurley took a break for about five minutes to go inside his home, he said.
Then he heard a boom.
Steven Lackey was outside next door when he heard the commotion, he said.
He said he immediately grabbed a hose and began to fill water into a trash can to douse on the fire. He was trying to prevent it from spreading to his father’s house next door, he said.
Gurley wasn’t injured, but the fire consumed the building. He figured the blaze started when one of the two propane tanks stored inside the shed exploded.
Gurley estimated the fire destroyed about $25,000 in tools and equipment. He even lost a 100-pound filleted catfish that he caught at Lookout Lake earlier in the summer, he said.
Fire crews responded to the fire shortly after 5 p.m., according to Wayside Volunteer Fire Department Chief Pete Deans.
It took 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze, Deans said, and an engine from Cool Springs Volunteer Fire Department responded to assist.