Deadly house explosion in Jackson County, Kansas likely from propane leak

Picture of map with Holton, Kansas

JACKSON COUNTY, Kan. — An explosion that killed a man and injured a woman in northeastern Kansas was likely the result of a propane leak, investigators stated.

Emergency crews were called on May 11 to the sound of an explosion heard more than 10 miles away. When first responders arrived to the scene north of Holton, a house was found flattened and on fire.

A man, identified as Billy “Lu” Griffiths, 61, of Holton, was found dead. A female victim was found outside the home and airlifted to a Kansas City hospital with serious injuries.

Investigators with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reported that they confirmed it was a propane-fueled explosion. Their report states that a “sizeable amount” of the gas was missing from their tank. Officials believe the gas may have leaked into the home.

Almost nothing remains of the obliterated house, according to the sheriff’s office. That’s making it hard for investigators to figure out for sure where the leak may have been. It’s also proving difficult to find the source of the ignition.

Authorities believe both victims were inside the home when it exploded due to the nature of their injuries. The body of Griffiths is currently undergoing an autopsy.

The explosion happened at 27284 Q.4 Road north of Holton.

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