Drop-light falling in gasoline caused Southwick fire

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Southwick firefighters kept flames from spreading to the house, but there was no saving the garage, the snowmobiles and other items inside.

Southwick Fire Chief Rick Anderson told 22News a resident of 16 College Highway was working on a snowmobile in the garage Wednesday afternoon, when a drop-light fell into a bucket of gasoline and exploded. The homeowner suffered some minor burns on his face, but was able to get out.

Chief Anderson said the two-car garage was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at about 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. The garage was connected to the house by an enclosed porch, but the fire crews prevented the flames from reaching the house.

“The stopped it. Pushed it back,” said Chief Anderson. “There was some minor smoke damage in the house, but it’s liveable. They’re staying there tonight.” Two adults live in the house.

The entire garage roof collapsed. The chief said there was propane, acetylene and gasoline containers in the garage and his men poured water on them, keeping them cool. There were also two large propane tanks outside, right beneath a burnt-out window next to the rear exterior wall.

“We were very lucky,” said Anderson. The chief said EMTs treated the victim for his burns, but he didn’t go to the hospital.

Two snowmobiles were lost in the fire.

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