2008-12-18 / Front Page

Needmore Home, Business Destroyed In Blaze

Propane tanks explode in fire; no one injured
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The home and welding business of Needmore area Mark Kazda located at 3771 Pleasant Grove Road was destroyed in a fire last week that has been linked to a malfunctioning propane heater. The home and welding business of Needmore area Mark Kazda located at 3771 Pleasant Grove Road was destroyed in a fire last week that has been linked to a malfunctioning propane heater. A Needmore area man safely escaped his home last Tuesday evening after a propane explosion caused the rear of his residence that also housed the homeowner's welding business to erupt into flames.

Nine fire companies, including three from Fulton County, were dispatched to the 8:20 p.m. fire at the 3771 Pleasant Grove Road home of Mark Kazda. Primary responders from the Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. arrived at the scene of the blaze in Belfast Township to discover flames shooting through the roof of the multi-level building.

Assisting Needmore were firefighters with engines and tankers from McConnellsburg, Hustontown, Breezewood and Hancock as well as tankers from Berkeley Springs and Great Cacapon, W.Va., and Clear Spring and Little Orleans, Md.

In speaking with the "News," Needmore Fire Chief J.R. Sigel reported the initial explosion was detected by Kazda's nephew, who happens to reside in a trailer adjacent to his uncle's residence. Kazda and his nephew were both able to get to safety, but one of Kazda's two dogs ran back into the building after firefighters arrived and succumbed to the fire.

Sigel stated the propane explosions were tremendous as an individual residing three-quarters a mile from Kazda heard blasts and felt his house shake.

"It's a shame we were unable to contain the fire," said Sigel, who added the business's propane tanks were blown in two, a steel door and frame were blown off from the force of the explosion and steel beams were warped as a result of the extreme heat. The building, which was the former site of a ethanol plant, was a total loss but was fortunately insured.

Sigel stated the exterior building was unique and different as a result of Kazda's special touch with windows and welding. His business, known as BB Express, reportedly worked with window framing for skyscrapers and had only recently received a shipment of $80,000 in materials for an upcoming job.

Kazda is temporarily residing with neighbors and will be staying with family over the holidays. The Fulton County chapter of the American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist in Kazda's needs.

Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal M.B. Gordon of the Mc- Connellsburg barracks visited the fire scene last Wednesday to determine both the cause and origin of the December 9 blaze. Gordon's final report indicates the origin of the fire has been traced to a room under construction that was being heated by a propane heater. It is, however, undetermined as to what caused the heater to malfunction due to the destruction of the heater in the fire.

Return to top