SMOAKS, S.C. (WCSC) – Firefighters in Colleton County say the man whose home exploded Monday night survived “by the grace of God.”
Colleton County Fire-Rescue released new photos of the scene where they say the explosion on Community Avenue in the Johnsville Community. The explosion, which was reported at 7:59 p.m., could be felt as far away as Orangeburg and Round O.
A neighbor told firefighters he found the victim, a 76-year-old man, walking among the debris. The victim received traumatic injuries and burns and was taken to an area hospital for treatment, firefighters said.
Firefighters said the damage looked similar to that from a tornado. Four vehicles were damaged and the neighboring home was knocked off its foundation, crews reported.
Fire investigators believe a leaking gas line caused the explosion. Colleton County Fire-Rescue said the man told first responders the line was leaking and that he was in the process of making a repair when the explosion happened.
The National Weather Service told crews that at the time of the explosion, a strong temperature inversion in place at the time of the explosion. A temperature inversion is a layer in the atmosphere in which air temperature increases with height rather than decreasing. That inversion would have helped trap sound waves and allow them to travel further, meteorologists said.
Firefighters created a “shock wave map,” which shows reports of the explosion had come in from Ehrhardt to Walterboro in Colleton County, from Branchville in Orangeburg County, and from St. George to Knightsville in Dorchester County.
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