Gas transfer sparks fire, destroying Redmond trailer

Woman, child escape before explosion, fireball

REDMOND, Ore. - A woman filling a small container with gas to fill a power generator ignited a flash fire that destroyed a trailer on Redmond’s east side late Tuesday afternoon, but she and a small child were able to escape before the gas still inside ignited an explosion and fireball, officials said.

Redmond Fire & Rescue units responded around 4:40 p.m. to the reported trailer on fire in the area of the 1100 block of East Antler Avenue, said Battalion Chief Chris Simmons. While en route, crews saw a large column of black smoke rising from the area – and as they got closer, they observed a large explosion and fireball from the blaze, Simmons said.

They arrived to find a trailer and built-on structure fully ablaze, he said. The human occupants were reported to be evacuated, though it was possible there were still pets inside.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but the trailer and structure were deemed total losses. Simmons said the pets' disposition was not determined.

Redmond Police sheltered the occupants from the cold weather in their patrol vehicles. Simmons said two people were taken  to an area hospital.

Police also called in the Red Cross, which said it sent disaster responders to help the occupants with needs such as temporary housing, food, clothing and comfort kits.

The resident reported she had been inside the trailer with a small child and was transferring gas from a large container to a small one, to fill a generator outside the trailer they were using for power.

Simmons said the gas fumes were ignited when vapors accumulated and found an ignition source, resulting in a flash fire. The resident then grabbed the child and got out.

Simmons said the residents were outside then the explosion and fireball occurred, probably from the gasoline still inside the trailer.

Redmond Fire & Rescue reminded everyone it’s unsafe to have open sources of flammable liquids or gases inside an enclosed space. Fumes can accumulate, he said – and if an ignition source is nearby, it can be ignited. Simmons said one should always transfer fuels in a well-ventilated area, to prevent the accumulation of vapors.

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