Veguita family left with nothing after propane blast destroys home

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A propane explosion destroyed a home in Veguita last Friday, leaving a family of four without a home.

The family, consisting of parents Humberto Tarin-Garcia and Imelda Lujan, and their two children, ages 5 and 11, and a 16-year-old also living in the home were not hurt.

The explosion occurred about 1:40 p.m. on Friday. June 1 Veguita Volunteer Fire Chief Tony Ortega said the cause is still under investigation. According to Ortega, the owner of the house, Tarin-Garcia, filled his propane tank at the Old Mill in Los Chavez. The tank apparently was filled two pounds over the level it was supposed to be and overflowed onto the water heater, which ignited and sparked the explosion.

“Someone down the line made a mistake,” Ortega said. “We’re having investigators look at the tank to see if it was filled up illegally.”

According to Socorro County Sheriff Deputy Ed Sweeney, the family was in the mobile home and heard the explosion, but didn’t immediately notice the flames. A nearby neighbor saw the flames in the back of the mobile home and called 911.

The two fire departments that responded to the propane explosion were District 14 in Abeyta and District 11 in Veguita.

After receiving the 911 call, State Police Officer Clint Norris was the first to arrive at the scene, since he was travelling south from Santa Fe. Upon his arrival, he made contact with the family and made sure everyone was safe. Sweeney and Deputy William Armijo arrived about 15 minutes later. Sweeney said when he arrived he also made sure everyone was accounted for, and that all family members were together. Sweeney said it was fortunate that everyone got out of the home and no one was hurt.

“Everyone was upset, and we’re thankful everyone was safe,” Sweeney said. “We were happy when we got there that the family was out of the house and got out safely.”

Abeyta Fire Chief Kelly Voris said the family lost everything, including clothing, furniture and other household items. The advice Voris gives to prevent future propane explosions is to make sure a professional fills up the propane tank correctly and legally.

“Make sure the tanks are legal, up to date and whoever is certified knows what they’re doing,” Voris said.

Beverly Allen, communications coordinator of Red Cross, said the Red Cross is providing food, clothing and bedding to the family. Allen said the family wanted to stay with other family members and were given comfort kits. The comfort kits include toiletry items, combs and wash clothes. The children also were given coloring books.

 

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