Witnesses say truck crash into home, propane fire was a close call

What's left of the home at 1551 County Home Road and semi-trailer that hit it sparking a...
What's left of the home at 1551 County Home Road and semi-trailer that hit it sparking a propane fire late Monday. Two people there when it happen say it was a really close call to escape injury.(KCRG)
Published: Sep. 18, 2018 at 4:28 PM CDT
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A semi-trailer driver left a trail of destruction late Monday afternoon north of Marion. And two people who were there when the truck left County Home Road, took out a large propane tank, sparked a huge fireball and crashed into a farmhouse say it’s just lucky no one was hurt.

The crash happened just after 5 p.m. Monday at 1551 County Home Road. Owner Rodney Peyton says he was working with a piece of equipment in the yard when he heard the explosion from the propane tank and looked up just in time to see the truck crash into the home.

Five minutes earlier, he was standing in the spot where the truck hit working on an air conditioner issue. A day later, Peyton says he keeps going the images in his head.

“It’s pretty unbelievable. You’re trying to comprehend what is happening. But the LP tank blew and there was a lot of fire,” Peyton said.

Peyton says the renter of the home, Michelle Burke, was inside when the truck hit. He immediately ran to see if she was injured.

Later, he found out Burke was also in the part of the home destroyed by the crash but had just left that area for another part of the home to take a phone call.

“A few minutes before that she had been in that part of the house and she moved to the south end. Very fortunate that took place,” Peyton said.

Burke said she scrambled out on the opposite end of the home from the crash just ahead of the flames from the propane tank and truck that caught fire.

She went to see if truck driver James Ward was OK.

She says Ward told her he blacked out and didn’t remember what happened.

Marion firefighters say they’ve responded to calls before involving propane tanks and homes on fire, downed power lines and people who needed help after a vehicle crashed into a home.

Wade Markley, the Marion Fire incident commander, said he’s never see a call where all that was happening at the same time in the same place.

“I was shocked they were out walking around and I was even more surprised when nobody was transported by ambulance to the hospital,” Markley said.

Markley says propane tanks have safety features to shut off the flow of gas in case of an accident. But the crash punctured the nearly-full tank and turned it over so the safety features didn’t work.

Payton says this apparently isn’t the first time the farmhouse was hit by a vehicle running off County Home Road at high speed. He said an earlier owner of the farm told him it also happened years ago when a drunk driver crashed into the house in almost the exact same spot.