A propane leak is the expected source of a house explosion in Sullivan, IL that killed Jared Schrock, 20, and injured a 16-year-old girl who was transported to an area hospital where she is listed in critical condition, according to news reports. Mr. Schrock suffered blunt force trauma to the head and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Like natural gas, propane is odorless in its naturally occurring state and has an odorant added to it that is meant to serve as a warning of a leak. What we have found is that certain conditions can create a situation where the smell is so diminished it can’t be detected. It’s called ‘odor fade’,” said Eric Hageman, an explosion lawyer with Pritzker Hageman law firm which represents clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases.
Odor fade can happen for a number of reasons, most commonly that not enough odorant was added to the propane or that the tank is filled improperly.
The explosion in Sullivan, which is located about three hours south of Chicago, was followed by a fire that engulfed the home around 10 p.m. on February 1, 2019. Firefighters from the Sullivan Fire Department, who responded to the call, rescued the young woman and recovered Mr. Schrock’s body. They are still working to determine the source of the explosion.
The state Fire Marshal’s office has launched an investigation.