Spark from fan blamed in blaze fueled by gas

Residents in a small home in San Rafael de Alajuela returned home to find that the dwelling was filled with the odor of liquid petroleum gas. This is the product that many homeowners in Costa Rica use for cooking and heating of water.

The homeowner removed a 25-pound cylinder of gas and then used a fan to attempt to blow the gas outside the dwelling. Unfortunately, according to the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the fan emitted a spark that ignited the gas fumes.

Lester Ayerdis Cuadra suffered burns over 45 percent of his body in the Sunday night incident. Seven small homes, including that of the injured man were destroyed, and 12 adults and seven children lost their small homes, said the bomberos.

The fire agency said that escaped gas accounts for more than eight calls a day this year. There is an upward trend, said the agency. In more than 80 percent of the cases, the problem is the valve, the agency added.

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