At a press conference Friday afternoon, Logan Co-Op Propane vice president James Donahue announced that Friday’s Hyrum fire was caused by a faulty propane tank.

The propane tank — found to have a faulty valve —  exploded when a piece of burning debris came into contact with it during a ditch burn. The explosion killed the farmer conducting the burn and severely damaged his home. The home then proceeded to ignite four other surrounding buildings and a grass field before fire crews were able to get the situation under control.

Logan Fire Department chief Matt Scott said the propane tank showed signs of rusty metal that had been painted over which, when combined with the faulty valve, compromised the safety of the tank. An investigation is underway to find out who was responsible for covering the rusted metal, he said.

Donahue said Logan Co-Op Propane plans to pay $25,000 to supply sufficient water to the Hyrum area as well as $25,000 to help rebuild the damage caused by the fire.

In addition, Logan Co-Op Propane will dispatch 100 of its employees to help in rebuilding the community along with lending financial assistance to fund the funeral expenses of the one deceased man and the medical bills of those injured.

“Our customers are very important to us,” Donahue said. “We want to show the families that we care about them.”

Logan Co-Op Propane also announced its plan for a “massive recall” of these faulty propane tanks — manufactured in Malaysia with metals that could not withstand the pressure.

“This very unfortunate accident was the result of faulty equipment,” Donahue said. “The issue was from the manufacturers, not us, the distributors.”

By Clayton Leuba