New details released on fatal McCall explosion

Firefighters take in the blast site of a residence that exploded Sunday
Posted at 6:47 AM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 14:05:09-04


New details were released Wednesday by the State Fire Marshal regarding two recent explosions involving propane.

Authorities said Jonathan Robinson Field, Jr., 69, died on the evening of March 17th, when his McCall home exploded. The coroner’s office listed the cause of death as “blunt force trauma consistent with an explosion.”

The blast also critically injured a teenage girl who was also in the home at the time, but officials say she is currently recovering at a Boise hospital and is expected to make what they called a “miraculous recovery.”

They said Field was the girl’s guardian. Her name was not released.

The girl told fire investigators that she smelled an odor of propane –- what she described as smelling like rotten eggs -– just before the explosion.

Investigators determined that propane from a tank under the house had leaked through the structure’s floorboards.

Officials also released details of a similar explosion near the town of Powell.

There, an Idaho State Police trooper was visiting his neighbor, a retired Fish and Game officer, when he noticed the smell of propane.

The two shut off the gas and opened windows to air out the house. When they could no longer detect the fumes, they shut the windows.

But, after the resident started a fire in a wood stove, the propane pooled, igniting an explosion.

“We urge every Idaho resident to get a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector or a flammable gas detector installed in their home,” said State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl.


Today findings from the fatal fire and explosion in McCall last month will be discussed by the State Fire Marshal. This incident was one of two recent hazardous situations statewide involving propane.

On the evening of March 17th, a home explosion in McCall killed one man and critically injured a teenage girl. According to a press release from the McCall Fire Department, the blast destroyed the home and left a crater and debris field hundreds of yards across. Crews that arrived first received reports of the female survivor screaming for help from the back of the wreckage.

6 On Your Side's Frankie Katafias will attend the press conference in Boise with State Fire Marshal, Knute Sandahl for more information. Tonight on 6 On Your Side we'll share those findings.