CASTLETON — A Windy Hollow Mobile Home Park resident is facing charges after police say his attempt to burn 13 propane tanks, four oxygen tanks, and two gas powered chainsaws resulted in an explosion Saturday night.

Castleton Police said Monday that on Saturday at 8:52 p.m. they were dispatched to the area of 525 River Street, the Windy Hollow Mobile Home Park, where it had been reported that a mobile home had exploded and that residents were trapped inside. This was not the case, though there had been an explosion with an active fire on scene when police and firefighters arrived.

Firefighters quickly had the fire under control. Police said they arrested the homeowner, Timothy Blanchard, 38, in connection with the incident. Police said he placed the propane and oxygen tanks, and the chainsaws, on the fire. According to police, Blanchard was intoxicated when they spoke to him, a violation of his existing conditions of release from a separate legal matter.

Blanchard was cited to appear in Rutland criminal court on Monday to face charges of reckless endangerment and violating conditions of release.

Castleton Fire Chief Heath Goyette said Monday that he lives nearby and learned of the explosion as his dogs began barking at it. Fire departments from Fair Haven and West Rutland were summoned, but once it was learned there was no burning mobile home with entrapped occupants those department’s were called off.

No one was injured directly by the explosion, he said, however a nearby nurse, whose husband is also a Castleton firefighter, came running to help and injured her ankle.

“She’s a nurse, her husband is one of my firemen, and she went over to the scene because it came over as somebody could be trapped inside,” said Goyette. “She went over to see if she could help and fell down; I guess she went across lots and fell down and busted her ankle trying to get there.”

Blanchard pleaded not guilty in court to reckless endangerment and two counts of violating release conditions, all misdemeanors. He was released under a 24-hour curfew, had $200 bail imposed on each count, is not allowed to consume alcohol or other drugs, and has to submit to alcohol testing if asked to by a law enforcement officer.

According to an affidavit by Castleton Police Officer Justin Szarejko, there are about 44 homes in the Windy Hollow Mobile Home Park. Seven of these are within 200 feet of where the fire was. When Szarejko met with Blanchard, he believed Blanchard to be heavily impaired by alcohol and other drugs.

While Blanchard was being taken to the Castleton Police Department, the decision was made to take him to Rutland Regional Medical Center in Rutland instead, given how he was behaving.

Szarejko stated that while being transferred to the hospital, Blanchard said that he threw the oxygen and propane tanks into the fire. According to the affidavit, the disposable propane cylinders were each 16 ounces, and the oxygen tanks were of varying sizes.

On Sunday, Blanchard was found at his home and served a citation to appear in court.

Several neighbors told police that the blast terrified them. One person said they grabbed their one-year-old child and ran to the back of their home, not knowing what was happening. Several said the explosion shook their houses.


You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.