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Propane Leak Suspected In NH House Explosion

DANVILLE, N.H. (CBS) – An explosion ruined a historic house in Danville, N.H., on Monday night.

Part of the home is off of its foundation, windows are blown out, and the side of the home was ripped away.

"It's pretty devastating," said homeowner Susan Foster. 'Your whole life is in there, and it's gone, just like that, gone, and I don't know where we're going or what we're going to do."

Danville Explosion
The home buckled following the explosion. (Matt Colson/WBZ)

William and Susan Foster had just gone out to a restaurant with their dog Hampton when ten minutes later Susan got a message from a friend.

"While I was there I got an email from my girlfriend who said 'sorry to hear about the explosion'," said Susan.

The Fosters say their propane company had delivered propane Monday morning. Later they smelled a foul odor.

The propane company came back, and according to the Fosters found a leak in the propane tank, so they hauled it off and promised to come back Tuesday with a new one.

But it was too late.

Investigators with the state fire marshal's office say enough vapor had already escaped and something set it off.

"It appears what we had was a vapor explosion from propane that was in the home itself," said John Southwell, District Chief with the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's office.

It is unclear what ignited the vapors.

The Fosters spent the last three decades restoring this home, which was built almost 300 years ago. They say it once served as the town's general store.

AmeriGas, the company that was working at the home, said in a statement they have launched an investigation to determine what caused the home explosion.

"We are thankful that there were no injuries as a result of this incident," the company said.

"Our thoughts are with the family affected by this event; we are in the process working with the Foster family to determine how we can offer assistance."

Investigators say if there's a suspicious odor, the first step for homeowners should be to call the fire department.

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