Man injured in Sumner County home explosion dies

WICHITA, Kan. Tuesday, July 17

One of two men injured in a propane-gas explosion at a home south of Mulvane has died. An update on the GoFundMe page to raise money to help cover medical expenses for the injured men says Robert Anglin died from his injuries Monday night.

"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we have to inform you that Robert passed away this evening," the update on the GoFundMe page says. "His injuries were too great a burden for his body to bear. He was surrounded by his family and friends during his last moments. Please continue to share and donate as you feel led. Your generosity will help his family cover funeral expenses."

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Update Wednesday, July 11

A GoFundMe page to raise money to help cover medical expenses for two men injured in a propane gas explosion identify the men as a father and son-in-law team of Rick McPhail and Robert Anglin.

The crowdfunding effort for the men says they were working on a home in the 1200 block of N. Geuda Springs Road south of Mulvane in Sumner County Monday when the explosion happened.

Fire officials say the explosion happened when a worker turned on a breaker in the basement. The breaker caused a spark to ignite some propane that had built up in the basement.

The GoFundMe page for the men says McPhail was thrown from the home's second floor, landing in the rubble and breaking a leg and both feet. The page says McPhail still managed to pull himself to safety.

"(Anglin), who had been in the basement, was fully engulfed in flames," the page says. "He managed to pull himself out of the active fire before he collapsed next to Rick on the ground."

The page says McPhail will recover after surgeris to his leg and feet. It says Anglin is fighting for his life, in a coma with second and third-degree burns to more than 80 percent of his body.

"Both men will need significant help with medical expenses and loss of livelihood, the GoFundMe page says.

The site has a fundraising goal of $5,000. As of Wednesday afternoon, $650 of that goal has been raised.

Charles Holt calls his grandpa and uncle fighters after they escaped from an explosion.

"My uncle was in the basement, flipped a circuit breaker, and propane ignited," said Charles Holt. "My grandpa told the story about how it blew him up. He landed, he saw fire, tried to get up, both his legs were broke, and he’s thinking he’s on the second floor, he’s gotta jump out the window... pulls up to the second window, the second window is now on the ground floor. He crawled out of the window, crawled to his truck because my uncle was screaming. My uncle crawled out of the basement. They’re both strong guys."

Holt's grandpa and uncle were working to remodel a Sumner County home when propane ignited and exploded. The explosion left his grandpa with broken bones, and his uncle is in a medically induced coma.

"He has second and third degree burns on 70-80 percent of his body," said Holt. "He did have a surgery yesterday where they worked on his arms and hands."

Holt describes them both as brave, hardworking men who fought to stay alive.

Earlier Wednesday, Eyewitness News spoke with a propane expert about how often propane gas explosions happen and how they can be prevented.

In less than one year, there have been three home explosions in the area fire investigators have linked to propane.

The first happened last September in Butler County. The second, a month later in McPherson County and the latest, Monday in Sumner County.

As propane is an odorless gas, a chemical is added to give it an odor some say smells like rotten eggs or dead animals. Expert David Payne says the smell can help alert homeowners of possible propane leaks.

"If you smell that, the first thing you should do is leave the house and get a hold of your propane supplier," Payne says.

He says because propane is heavier than air, it sinks to the lowest level of a home. It's also flammable and if ignited, can cause devastating injuries to people and cause property damage.

But, he says, propane explosions are rare and preventable.

"Have an expert come out and check your system to make sure it's leak free, and most suppliers can and will be happy to do that," Payne says.

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Update 5 p.m. Monday, July 9:

Fire officials say propane igniting in the basement is the apparent cause of the explosion that leveled a home, scattered debris and critically injured two men in Sumner County Monday morning.

Remodeling on the home south of Mulvane was almost finished when the explosion happened. Two subcontractors were supposed to finish painting. They arrived at the home about 8 a.m. Lance Frey, a contractor overseeing the work had dropped by to talk to the two men.

"I was headed back to my house in Rose Hill. It had to be when I was on my way home when it happened," he says of the explosion.

Frey got a call from the homeowners who told him their house was leveled and the workers were injured. They were concerned he'd also been inside the home when it happened.

Fire officials say the explosion happened when a worker turned on a breaker in the basement. The breaker caused a spark to ignite some propane that had built up in the basement.

Frey says he remembers smelling a strange odor while he was at the home.

"I almost went into the basement to try to figure things out because of the odor," he says. "It could have easily been me. I just feel very blessed and fortunate I wasn't here, but at the same time its hard to grasp because I have known these guys for so long and its just rough."

Frey says he asks for the community to keep the two men in their prayers for what he says will likely be a long recovery for both.

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Two people are critically hurt after a house explosion in Sumner County this morning.

According to Mulvane Police, the home is leveled and there is debris scattered all around the scene in the 1200 block of N. Geuda Springs Road.

Emergency crews were called to the home at around 8:40.

Police say the two men who were hurt don't live there, they were there to do maintenance.

They were both taken to the hospital with severe burns.

Several agencies are on the scene, including Sumner County, Rose Hill, Cowley County, Sedgwick County and Mulvane.

Eyewitness News has a crew on the scene, watch for updates as we get them.

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Crews from several departments are on the scene of a house explosion in Sumner County.

It happened in the 1200 block of N. Geuda Springs Road.

Eyewitness News has a crew headed for the scene, watch for updates as we get them here at www.kwch.com.