Propane bottle explosion burns man, damages motel room



HOQUIAM — A 44-year-old man was burned when a leaking propane bottle ignited, blew out the front window, bowed the exterior wall and raised the roof of his motel room at the Stoken Motel in Hoquiam, authorities said Friday.

He was red, but walking and talking when the emergency vehicle took him to be evaluated at Grays Harbor Community Hospital. He did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, authorities added. A dog in the room was unharmed, Sgt. Jeff Salstrom of the Hoquiam Police said. The police are familiar with the occupant, he added. The man has been arrested before on misdemeanor charges, Salstrom said.

The Hoquiam Fire Department responded to an aid call around 5 p.m., Fire Capt. Jerry Gwin said. There was not a fire, but a flash, a concussive explosion and a shock wave that blew out the front window panes and frame and bowed the exterior wall of the room out about four to six inches, Gwin said. The wall is about 12 feet long, he estimated. Damage was structural and substantial.

“Think of the concussion as being inside of a balloon as you pop it,” Gwin added.

The back window was fine, Gwin said.