Gas fumes, oxygen tanks fueled fatal fire

Published 11:57 am Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A natural gas leak and oxygen tanks may have both fueled a fire and explosion that killed a Clark County man Tuesday afternoon.

The victim was identified as 72-year-old Michael Snowden, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Snowden’s wife was also in the home at the time, but escaped without injury, Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr. said.

The preliminary indications are that Michael Snowden had removed a gas heater from the basement of the home earlier Tuesday and that the gas line was leaking. Tuesday afternoon, he was sharpening a lawn mower blade which provided the initial spark and started the fire, he said.

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“They think it may have been leaking gas and it built up,” Perdue said.

Snowden got his wife out of the house, but went back inside. At that point, one of the oxygen tanks exploded, he said.

Snowden was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Why he went back in, we don’t know,” Perdue said. “He did get her out.”

Firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at 543 Cunningham Lane shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday. Clark County Fire Chief Ernie Barnes said the smoke was visible from Winchester, and the house was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived on the scene.

Firefighters from four departments and a Kentucky State Police arson investigator were on the scene for several hours Tuesday.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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