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[FINAL UPDATE] North Stamford Home Explodes: "A Scene Out Of Hell"

The scene of 305 Webbs Hill Road following a massive explosion that obliterated the home that once stood there. Courtesy Ted Jankowski
The scene of 305 Webbs Hill Road following a massive explosion that obliterated the home that once stood there. Courtesy Ted Jankowski
FINAL UPDATE, 6 p.m.:

At 6 p.m., Stamford Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski and Police Chief Jon Fontneau held the final live press conference Tuesday regarding an explosion that occurred at a Webbs Hill Road home at approximately 1:54 p.m. earlier that day. 

Jankowski said the fire within a propane tank continued to be monitored under a controlled burn, and a final extinguish would not be declared until all the propane sitting in the tank had finished burning off. 

The propane tank is the leading theory for what triggered an explosion that leveled the home at 305 Webbs Hill Road, but Jankowski said it would "be a couple of days before we finally are able to determine what happened."

The tank had roughly 400 gallons of propane in it at the time of the explosion, Jankowski estimated, and it was still burning early in the evening. The director said he anticipated it could continue to burn until late into the night. 

The homeowner, who was home and outside at the time of the explosion but was conscious and alert when taken to Stamford Hospital, remained there as of the last update, as did a firefighter taken to the hospital with a minor back injury suffered while battling the blaze. 

Heavy machinery was on site sifting through debris to help city, volunteer and state fire marshals piece together what caused the explosion, Jankowski said. 

"It's going to be some time before we open the roads [in the area,]" he said. 

Fontneau said investigators remained at the hospital to speak with the homeowner and continued working on determining what may have caused the explosion. 

UPDATED, 4:30 p.m.:

Stamford officials again gave an update Tuesday on the status of a propane tank under a controlled burn at a Webbs Hill Road home in North Stamford following an explosion earlier, though there was little new information.

City, volunteer and state fire marshals were now all working together to determine the cause of the blast that leveled the home, Stamford Police Chief Jon Fontneau said.

"It was like a scene out of hell," Fontneau said.

The chief recalled the blast being so forceful a window pane from the home was found in a pine tree nearby.

Mayor Michael Pavia said the prevailing theory so far was that a 500-gallon propane tank at the right rear of the home at 305 Webbs Hill Road was likely the cause of the blast, but the incident is currently being treated as a crime scene and remains under investigation.

There was one firefighter injury reported during the update as well, a man taken to Stamford Hospital with a minor back injury.

There were 280 gallons of propane left burning at the time of the update, according to Public Safety Director and interim Fire Chief Ted Jankowski.

UPDATED, 3:20 p.m.:

Pavia hosted a news conference at approximately 3:20 p.m. with Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski, Police Chief Jon Fontneau and others giving further detail on the situation at 305 Webbs Hill Road.

Pavia said debris from the explosion traveled in an approximate 500 foot radius from the home, described as a two-story contemporary with a pool house, which also suffered damage. The homeowner was home and on the scene outside at the time of the explosion, but was alert and conscious when taken to the hospital, officials said.

He iterated that the theory remains a gas propane tank exploded, but the scene is still being treated as a crime scene by police and fire officials.

Jankowski said the underground 500-gallon propane tank is being allowed to continue burning in a controlled state as they have no way of shutting it off. He did say the fire was contained to 305 Webbs Hill Road, but that two other homes in the area were being checked for structural damage.

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According to Stamford officials, an explosion has occurred at 305 Webbs Hill Road in North Stamford.

According to Mayor Michael Pavia, who was leaving the scene Tuesday afternoon, police are investigating an explosion that "disintegrated" the house.

"They believe currently there may have been some sort of gas leak," Pavia said. "There's absolutely nothing left."

Police have much of the Webbs Hill Road area locked down. Pavia said a second home was also damaged by flying debris, and there was an individual working outside at the time of the explosion, but he had no update on their condition.

A firefighter on scene reported New Canaan, Greenwich, Banksville and Pound Ridge mutual aid assisting. Greenwich is assisting with trucks covering downtown locations while Stamford units focus on Webbs Hill Road. New Canaan has a tanker and four firefighters on scene, as well as Chief Jack Hennessey. Tankers are filling up at the lake behind the Lakeside Diner in an almost constant rotation.

This is a developing story.

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