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Brush pile in Dana goes boom

A Dana resident used too much of the wrong kind of accelerant and caused an explosion that shook buildings more than a mile away earlier this month.
“That was a huge explosion,” Lt. Dakota Newman of Dana Fire and Rescue said of the big boom about 10 p.m. on Sept. 6 on Simple Lane off Upward Road. “It shook the firehouse. I thought someone had wrecked into the building.”
Assistant Henderson County Fire Marshal Joe Swain got there quickly because he lives nearby.
“Somebody put gas on a brush pile and lit it but there was 5 gallons,” Swain said. “It actually turned out to be an illegal burn. He was cleaning out his mother’s house and she had a bunch of paper. He decided to use gas instead of kerosene or diesel. I live in Dana. It shook my house and I live about about a mile and a half way.”
Newman said the two men who caused the explosion were “white as a sheet of paper” when firefighters arrived and Swain said, “When I got there I think they were in shock, to be honest with you, from the blast.”
Swain issued a verbal warning for an illegal burn.
No one was hurt.
“They had a guardian angel is all I can say,” Newman said.
The debris pile with paper on top was in a hole about 15 feet deep, Swain said.
“When he lit it, the fire went straight up instead of going out,” he said. “If it had been sitting on flat land he’d either been dead or had third-degree burns.”
Gasoline is not recommended to help start fires.
“You could use accelerant but we recommend diesel,” Swain said. “It has a lower flashpoint.”