Investigators from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) sifted through the scene of the July 18 massive residential explosion at 132 June Place in Sequim, and said the following day that the blast was accidental.
The home exploded in Sequim in the early evening, destroying the house, blowing out windows of at least three neighboring homes and leaving a man dead inside.
The identity of the deceased male was confirmed by dental records to be 63-year-old Paul Joseph Lewis, the homeowner and sole occupant in the home at the time of the incident.
Lewis’ was identified through the Washington State Patrol Missing/Unidentified Persons Unit,the Clallam County Prosecutor’s Office said in a July 24 press release.
“We express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Paul Lewis for their loss,” officials officials said.
No other major injuries or fatalities were reported.
Investigators began looking at evidence the following day, according to Undersheriff Ron Cameron.
“While a definitive explanation for the blast is not available, evidence collected shows that foul play is not suspected,” Cameron said in a press release.
“The ATF indicated the incident was accidental.”
Sheriff’s office deputies and Clallam County Fire District 3 firefighters were dispatched to the scene a little before 7 p.m. when they found the home entirely destroyed, with pieces of the structure blown hundreds of feet into neighbors’ yards and roofs.
Firefighters from the Carlsborg station reportedly arrived about five minutes after the initial tone to the front of the burning structure with multiple propane tanks venting and sending flames 30 to 40 feet high in loud bursts.
Olympic Ambulance responded with three ambulances, evaluating two individuals for minor injuries.
District 3 Battalion Chief Chris Turner said the PenCom dispatch center in Port Angeles received an estimated 100 calls about the explosion that was heard across the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and into Port Angeles.
There were reports of at least three homes with their windows blown out on the same block, Turner said.
“Multiple callers and witnesses stated that within a mile of the initial explosion objects had fallen off their walls inside their homes,” he said in a press release.
It took about an hour to control the blaze, District 3 officials said, though the major damage was kept to the property, some grass on neighboring property lines and a neighboring fence.
Additional units from the Sequim and Blyn fire stations assisted with the blaze.
At the peak of the call, Fire District 3 had 10 units with nearly 30 personnel on scene. Port Angeles Fire Department had an assistant chief who assisted as well.
Some residents of the fire district in the vicinity of the fire may notice damage to their homes or property over the next couple of days, fire district officials said.