This home at 208 Carbon Ave. in Oak Creek exploded this morning. A man who was inside the house is presumed dead. The cause of the blast was likely a propane tank explosion, an Oak Creek fire official said.

Gerry Crawford/Courtesy

This home at 208 Carbon Ave. in Oak Creek exploded this morning. A man who was inside the house is presumed dead. The cause of the blast was likely a propane tank explosion, an Oak Creek fire official said.

Man dies in Oak Creek house explosion

Law enforcement, fire crews on scene at 208 Carbon Avenue

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— A man died after a home in Oak Creek exploded this morning. The likely cause of the blast is a propane tank explosion, an Oak Creek fire official said.

Chuck Wisecup, chief of the Oak Creek Fire Protection District, said the man was trapped in the wreckage of the blast, which occurred shortly after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at 208 Carbon Ave., on the west side of the South Routt town. The house was destroyed. Crews reportedly heard the man calling for help when they arrived on the scene early this morning, and fought to reach the man in severe smoke inhalation conditions for the next several hours. Wisecup said more than four feet of water poured into the crawl space of the home. The walls were blown out and the roof caved in when the explosion occurred, Wisecup said. Oak Creek Public Works crews helped pump out water and remove debris at the scene. Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg confirmed the man's death at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, but would not confirm the man's identity pending notification of kin.

A neighbor and town official both identified the resident of the house as Dennis Eugene Harris, 64, known as Gino or Gene. Harris reportedly lives alone with his dog. The dog reportedly escaped the house alive. Harris is a driver for the Routt County Council on Aging. A council van was parked at the residence this morning. The explosion blew out all the van's windows.

"It was definitely an explosion," Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio said of the blast. Neighbors said they felt the blast at their homes, and reported smelling propane in the area as early as Monday, when Harris may have had his propane tank refilled.

Numerous law enforcement and emergency response agencies, including Oak Creek police, the Routt County Sheriff's Office, and fire crews from Oak Creek and Steamboat Springs, responded to the scene. The fire was contained by noon. Wisecup said several adjacent homes suffered structural damage including blown out windows and skylights and exterior damage. Law enforcement did not evacuate Carbon Avenue. Wisecup said the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will inspect the site Thursday morning.

According to the Routt County Assessor's database, the home at 208 Carbon Ave. was purchased by Peter Nauman of Steamboat Springs in November 2004. The 674-square-foot, one-bedroom home has electric heat and wood siding, according to the Assessor's Office sales record.

Tonight's community meeting about law enforcement in South Routt, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Oak Creek Town Hall, has been canceled due to today's tragic events. A new meeting date has not been set. Call 736-8231 with questions.

Comments

Dave Ege 6 years, 6 months ago

Good job SBPilot. I live 1/2 block from the house and the explosion at 8:32 am shook my entire home. I am impressed that this is already on the web. May God be with my neighbor.

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Dave Ege 6 years, 6 months ago

Another thank you to the O.C. Police Chief Russ and the volunteer fire dept. Their 4 minute reaction time speaks volums on their preparedness

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nmypinon 6 years, 6 months ago

Brent check the address again, it is not Adam and Stephanies' house.

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Dave Ege 6 years, 6 months ago

Now, lets avoid the crap and personal attacks that most of these threads turn into. This is a tragedy, nothing else

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bluntman 6 years, 6 months ago

it goes without saying, Dave, but thanks for saying it none the. you are right, this is yet another unfortunate tragedy for the Community.

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bluntman 6 years, 6 months ago

what i meant to write in the above post: ...none the less.

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honeystinger1 6 years, 6 months ago

What a tragedy. Everyone who knew Geno knows how kind he was. I'm sure the Oak Creek community will be able to pull together after this. That's something I think we're all good at. God bless Geno & everyone affected.

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upstream 6 years, 6 months ago

retired in...I echo your sentiments. May our neighbor rest in great peace. A painful reminder of how fragile we are and how much we all depend on the tireless dedication of our Emergency Responders. Thank you Commander Wisecup for running such a well-oiled machine and thank you Chief Russ for the professionalism you have brought to our town. It is more than evident that the people who work under your direction have been well trained and hold you both in great regard. You are all heroes.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 6 months ago

Go in Peace and know you are in a better place..how sad

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onthelist 6 years, 6 months ago

We are all here to serve each other, thanks be to Geno he served us all well.

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Scott Wedel 6 years, 6 months ago

Geno was a great guy. He did a bunch of the concrete work around town.

Very sad.

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Responder 6 years, 6 months ago

My prayers go out to your community. The OCVFD keeps coming through these horrifc tragedies, over and over again. They are our true heroes. If you know any of these incredible people, please put your arms around them, and keep an eye on them to be sure they are OK, as they too are human and they have witnessed more than any person should. These events are incredibly close to home, literally, as the fireman that lives across the street will attest. Let God please give all of you the strength you need.

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seven 6 years, 6 months ago

Geno, Remember you as the kind fellow who use to drive all our precious Seniors around.Though I never talked to you we use to always wave. Thank you for being the legs for those who could not walk very far and the one ensuring the Seniors had groceries.

To the Police, Fire ,Ambulance and other care givers, You are the Heros. Humbled and grateful for all the work seen but mostly the work unseen the rest of us never know of. Even though you could hear Geno cry out in the fire (as the Steamboat Pilot internet mentioned) but desperately could not get to him, rest knowing every posssible tactic to save him was used. God is able to rescue all of us in the time of need, even when no one else can. Remember the story of Stephen? Stephen while wrongfully being stoned(beaten with rocks),was given a comforting vision of heaven from God. He has promised all of us He will never leave or forsake us . Stephen could not even feel the pain.

Father in the name of Jesus please give peace to all that knew Geno, put you hands on all the care givers of this incident known and unknown let your Mighty hand of love sweep over them. Blind there eyes to any struggles they may have because they could not reach Geno. Allow them to keep helping others . Father mercifully walk with Geno in Heaven, may your light shine upon Genos face. May Geno rest in peace through out all eternity.This we pray in Jesus name . Amen and Amen.

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80488mom 6 years, 6 months ago

An absolutely incredible response time from the Oak Creek fire department. Bless all those who answer the calling to serve their community.

There are always so many negative comments about Oak Creek in these threads but I have always found it a wonderful little town and go out of my way to shop and eat there. It's so down to earth, which is a refreshing escape from Steamboat, always worth the drive and I can appreciate their sense of community and town spirit.

This was a horrific accident and my heart goes out to Geno, his friends and family.

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Tricia Nickerson 6 years, 6 months ago

Geno, you will be missed. We'll take care of Buddy. Thanks for all your good deeds.

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flamingos 6 years, 6 months ago

BLESS YOU, OLD FRIEND, YOU WILL BE MISSED. LES & JM

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59hotmama69 6 years, 6 months ago

y on such days as the 13th of febuary, notional love day, did we have to lose such a good friend... he was in all our hearts on this day when we heard the location of the explosion. forever more willhe remain in our hearts as the days grow old. we will dearly miss our beloved Geno for he was a great person and had a great heart. he will be missed but his soul will roam free. we all lost a great friend and buddy. please remember this day as not olny the day of love but the day of loss. we will miss you forever more Geno..... lots of love

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59hotmama69 6 years, 6 months ago

Thank you O.C.F.D. for being out there and helpin to find him... you guys did a great thing so i thank you all

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SC 6 years, 6 months ago

Hello . First, let me express my sorrow to your community.This is indeed a sad time.It sounds like Mr Harris had a great many friends.I am sure someone close to Mr Harris will become family to Buddy, but if He is in need of a home,I would gladly give him a foster home until permanent home can be found. I also make regular donations to a golden retriever rescue that would be more than happy to step in if needed.

http://www.goldenretrieverfreedom.com/pages/success-stories.php

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chastaylor 6 years, 6 months ago

We lost a good man on Feb13th. I lost a best friend. We must all remember Geno for what he was; a good friend and a happy person who cared for his fellow man. Happy Trails Geno,

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brendabrn 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh, Geno - ride free forever, bro, with love & peace

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 6 months ago

seven..........., very nice, thank you..........

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susie 6 years, 6 months ago

Oh my god, I just can't believe this. He was such a calm in the storm of my life a long time ago. Thanks.

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