Lawson’s man skirts catastrophe

04/17/2014

A propane tank exploded at Dillon Beach on Monday, leaving one man thanking his luck. Ryan Larsen, a cousin of Lawson’s Landing co-owner Willy Vogler, was cutting into an old tank to turn it into scrap metal when it exploded at his feet, sending out a huge bang. The 33-year-old, in shock and numbed by the blast, soon had his pants cut off by paramedics that happened to be camping at the resort. “It wasn’t burns so much as concussion. There’s a wicked bruise and road rash,” Mr. Vogler said. Propane tanks have an estimated 12-year lifespan but often pass re-inspection and keep serving their function; in the salt air of the seaside campground, however, they usually don’t pass. (“They tend to come here to die,” as Mr. Vogler put it). The tank that burst on Monday had been sitting with its valve cut off for over a week, but gas might have penetrated the metal and resisted evaporation; a new policy inspired by the incident will entail letting expired tanks “sit up on the hill for six months before cutting into them,” Mr. Vogler added.