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Detecting Gas Leaks At Home After Deadly Explosion

By Kelly Werthmann

FIRESTONE, Colo. (CBS4)- New details have revealed what caused a home to explode in Firestone, killing two and leaving another critically injured.

Investigators are pointing blame at an odorless gas that leaked from an abandoned and uncapped gas line. That information has some other homeowners wondering what they can do to protect their house.

(credit: CBS)

"There is an alarm that homeowners could by that would have detected these specific gases," said Summer Campos, Community Outreach Specialist with the Frederick-Firestone Protection District.

Campos said information on such devices can be found at, as well as Frequently Asked Questions that may address homeowners concerns.

Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin were killed in a home explosion in Firestone in 2017. (credit: CBS)

Erin Martinez, a physics and chemistry teacher, survived the deadly explosion at her Firestone home last month but was critically injured. Her husband, Mark, and her brother, Joseph Irwin, were killed in the explosion.

CBS4 also reached out to the Longmont Fire Department and their deputy chief recommended devices that can be purchased at hardware stores for $40 to $50.

firestone house explosion (1)
(credit: CBS)

"We would recommend purchasing an Explosives Gas/CO Detector," Deputy Chief Jerrod Vanlandingham said in a statement. "Methane and propane (explosive gases) are lighter than air and will have a tendency to rise, so placing them higher on walls is recommended. These units should be placed on each floor of the home and certainly near sources of natural gas."

CBS4 also reached out to the Boulder County Health Department regarding home monitoring for noxious gases and was provided criteria for selecting a home gas detector.

Health officials said it is important to look for the following:

  • UL listing - this is key as it ensures electrical safety and that it has been tested for this specific use
  • Plugs in to a standard outlet and has back up battery in case of loss of power
  • Specifically made for home use
  • Follow all manufacturer's directions and make sure they include:
    • Detailed directions for proper installation
    • Detailed instructions for how to respond to the alarm
    • Be sure to replace it at least as often as manufacturer recommends (many say up to 5 years)

Boulder County Health Department said these two devices fit that criteria, adding there may be others:

  • First Alert Plug-In Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display
  • KIDDE KN-COEG-3 Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide and Explosive Gas Alarm with Battery Backup

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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