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Loma Linda blast injures one, damages structures

An explosion heard throughout much of Pagosa Country Sunday morning left one man injured, leveled a detached garage and damaged other structures in the Loma Linda subdivision.

David Parker was reportedly working on a kerosene space heater on the second floor of a two-story detached garage at 401 Eight Mile Loop in Loma Linda Sunday morning when the blast occurred, said Ron Thompson, chief of the Pagosa Fire Protection District.

A neighbor reported the blast to 911 at 10:37 a.m. At 10:38 a.m., the fire department, EMS and Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched. Eight more 911 calls filtered in over the next few minutes reporting the explosion.

Parker suffered what are believed to be nonlife-threatening injuries, including multiple lacerations to his face and hands, facial injuries, and burns to one hand, Thompson said. Parker was taken to Mercy Medical Center, then flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. No report of his condition was available as of press time

Parker’s wife was in the adjacent house at the time of the explosion, but refused medical treatment and traveled with her husband to the hospital.

“We don’t think the kerosene heater was a party to the explosion,” said Thompson Monday morning, confirming later in the afternoon that, in fact, the appliance had been ruled out as a possible cause.

The fire department launched a brief investigation into the cause of the fire Monday, but curtailed that investigation, turning it over to the insurance companies, after determining that there was no criminal activity involved, Thompson said. Local propane companies were called in to help with the fire department investigation.

Kirk Becker, an agent for Farmer’s Insurance, one of the agencies involved, said the incident was still under investigation. An on-site investigation by insurance company personnel will occur within the week.

Thompson reported that the debris field from the destroyed garage stretched approximately 1,000 feet in length from north to south, and was 700-800 feet wide.

Two fire engines, a rescue vehicle, and 20 volunteers and staff were dispatched to the incident. The county building department and emergency management group were also involved.

The Red Cross responded with food for the crews.

“A big thank you to all the people that came and helped,” Thompson said.

randi@pagosasun.com