Victims' Names Released In Deadly Propane Explosion

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

Residents in the area were asked to evacuate if they live in the following area:

The boundaries are as follows:

SW Prairie Creek on the East
159th on the West
SW 140th on the South
SW 130th on the North

Stay up-to-date with KAKE News:

UPDATE: August 3, 2011

Butler county officials said a 40-year-old Wichita man died in a propane explosion in Butler county Tuesday afternoon.

Jeffrey Burnham was rushed to a Wichita burn unit after the blast at Global Propane on SW Butler Road. He died from his injuries early Wednesday morning.

Authorities said Jeremy Kessler, 25, of Wichita remains hospitalized in serious condition at Via Christi Hospital.

Barry Long of Newton was treated for minor burns and released early Tuesday evening.

All three men were employees at Global Propane, Butler county emergency management said.

Investigators remain on the scene in the 13000 block of SW Butler Road searching for a cause in the blast. The state fire marshal's office is leading that investigation.

Emergency management says one tank exploded, reportedly as workers at Global Propane were filling it up. The explosion caused around 200 of the other tanks on the same truck to also explode.

Global Propane released a statement regarding the explosion saying, "At this time our focus is on our employees, their families, and those affected by the fire. The outpouring of support, concern and prayers from our customers, friends and family has been tremendous. The cause of the fire is being investigated and is unknown at this time. Global Propane will continue to service its customers as we work through this difficult time."

UPDATE: August 3, 2011

Residents are being allowed to return to their homes after a deadly propane explosion in Butler County, officials said.

The blast occurred at Global Propane in the 13000 block of SW Butler Road 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Residents living within a two-mile radius were asked to leave their homes shortly after the blast. Some homeowners were allowed to return late Tuesday night.

Evacuated residents were sent to the Andover United Methodist Church at 1429 N. Andover Road. The American Red Cross set up a shelter and reception center for families affected by the disaster.

Meals and snacks were distributed to nearly 200 emergency responders and shelter residents. Red Cross is currently working with one family who lost their home because of the explosions.

Officials also shutdown Butler Road from 130th to 140th throughout the night. Authorities re-opened the road to traffic around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Butler county fire officials said no one is allowed on Global propane property as investigators are looking into what sparked the blaze.

Three people who worked for Global propane were hurt in the blast. One person died overnight from injuries, one remains hospitalized, another was treated and released.

KAKE news does have a crew in Butler county as new information is released. Tune into KAKE news at 11:00 a.m. for the latest in this developing story.

August 3, 2011

One person has died after being injured in the Butler County propane company blasts.

KAKE News has confirmed one person has died from injuries suffered in the blasts. Another person remains in serious condition.

Butler County Officials also saying Andover Road remains closed in the area.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some Butler County residents are being allowed to return to their homes, after a propane explosion this afternoon kept them away. The only area still closed at this time is 130th to 140th on Butler Rd.

Firefighters and emergency crews are on the scene of a propane explosion in Butler County. Butler County Emergency Manager Jim Schmidt says a propane tank exploded at Global Propane, which also sparked a grass fire. One person was taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in critical condition, a second person in serious condition, and a third person in good condition, all treated for burns. The person who was in good condition has since been treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. Schmidt says all three injured are employees at Global Propane.

Schmidt says one employee reported hearing a 'whoosh' sound then saw fire. That employee did not report remembering anything further.

Global Propane is reportedly currently trying to turn off a different 16,000 gallon tank using an emergency valve.

Residents in an area with boundaries bordered by SW Prairie Creek on the East, 159th on the West, SW 140th on the South, and SW 130th on the North. Witnesses evacuating their homes in the Flint Hills subdivision said they saw a grass fire first, and then heard 20 to 30 explosions. Many said they grabbed loved ones and pets and fled. Three homes in the area were damaged or destroyed but Schmidt says he doesn't expect any further damage to surrounding homes. No residents were injured in the house fires.

Individuals displaced due to mandatory evacuations from this afternoon's explosion on Butler County Road, may report to Faith Baptist Church in Andover (417 W Central). A shelter has been set up at this location. A Red Cross reception area/shelter for affected families has also been set up at the Andover United Methodist Church, 1429 N. Andover Rd.

Due to this afternoon's events, Andover's National Night Out festivities will be postponed. Details regarding a reschedule of the event will be relayed when possible.

Schmidt says those displaced residents in the mile surrounding the explosion may not be able to return home for at least the next 12 hours.

No eastbound traffic is being allowed into Butler County on Pawnee, MacArthur or 31st Street South.

The business, Global Propane, is located at 13323 SW Butler Road.
Propane is a liquefied petroleum gas used as a fuel. It is heavier than air and in its natural state is an odorless, colorless gas.

The propane fire will be allowed to burn itself out, due to a limited water supply, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Emergency Management also says the closest fire hydrants are about a mile away so fire crews will have to truck in water to control the blaze. We have several crews on the scene. This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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