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Neighbors keep house from burning down after propane grill explodes

John Thompson • Jul 30, 2012 at 9:51 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Quick work by neighbors kept a fire caused by propane grill explosion from burning down a house on Monday afternoon.

Dave Smith was on his way back home from topping off the gas tank in his wife’s car when he saw black smoke coming from the side of his house on Betsy Kay Road.

“I knew right away what it was,” Smith said. He had only recently bought the propane grill and had only used it about four times.

He rushed to his wooden deck and began spraying the flames with a garden hose. A neighbor, Kendal Hartman joined him with another hose. So did Terry Morris. Although the fire had destroyed his awning, melted the vinyl siding and charred sections of the deck, they managed to have the fire out by the time volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene. The firefighters went through the crawl space to make sure there were no hot spots.

Smith said he has not yet discussed the fire with his insurance agent. He said the firefighters placed an estimate of $10,000 on the damage.

“I just want to thank my neighbors, Kendal Hartman and Terry Morris for helping me,” Smith said.

Although he had forgotten it, Hartman told Smith he was just returning the favor. Smith had been on his way to work one morning about 10 years ago and saw the Hartman house on fire. He rushed into the burning home to make sure no one was inside, but that fire was too big for him to put out. The fire department did put that fire out.

“There are a lot of good neighbors here,” Smith said. “We watch out for each other.”

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