Fire marshal: Propane leak caused Block Island house explosion

A rental home on Block Island exploded Tuesday morning. (Courtesy: K. Curtis/Block Island Times)

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — A propane leak at a house off West Side Road on Block Island was the culprit for an explosion that blew apart a large portion of the building early Tuesday morning.

The owners of the summer rental property were out of town and asked a neighbor to turn on the propane, according to State Fire Marshal Jack Chartier. However, he said there was a leak and when an electrical pump kicked on, the gas ignited.

In a photo provided to WPRI.com by The Block Island Times, debris littered the yard. Nobody had been inside the house when it blew about 5:30 a.m., and nobody was hurt.

Chartier suggested homeowners should hire a professional to turn on propane tanks in case there are leaks.