Propane tanks found at blast site - East Valley Tribune: News

Propane tanks found at blast site

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Posted: Saturday, September 6, 2003 3:58 am | Updated: 1:49 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Investigators looking into Sunday's explosion and fire at a Mesa apartment complex are taking a closer look at two empty 5-gallon propane tanks as the possible cause.

The tanks were found in the bedroom of a 33-year-old resident at the Broadway Gardens apartments at 945 W. Broadway Road. The man, whose identity is being withheld by authorities, remains in critical condition in the burn unit at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix.

Authorities found an unexploded pipe bomb in the same apartment Thursday, forcing the temporary evacuation of the adjoining building. The device, approximately 12 inches long, was later detonated.

The man moved into the complex about three months ago, said Mesa Fire Department deputy chief Mary Cameli.

"The investigators have ruled out a methamphetamine lab and they've ruled out natural gas, but we know it was a vapor that ignited and caused the explosion," Cameli said.

Investigators are taking the propane tanks to a private contractor to determine if they were leaking, Cameli said.

The explosion ripped through the 270-unit complex Sunday, injuring six people and damaging 16 units. Eight of those apartments were destroyed. Complex managers offered vacant apartments to 17 displaced families.

Betty Austin with Mesa's community service administration said families need linens and bedding, kitchenware, cribs, beds and mattresses, household items, toiletries and nonperishable food.

Drop off points include Fire Station One, 13 W. First St.; East Mesa Service Center, 6935 E. Decatur St.; Fire Station No. 212, 2430 N. Ellsworth Road; and Mesa police headquarters, 130 N. Robson.

Diamond Towing has offered to pick up large household items and can be reached at (602) 254-5585.

All items should be taken to the drop-off sites by Wednesday. After that, they can be taken directly to the complex.

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