House painter burned when Meeks Bay home explodes |

House painter burned when Meeks Bay home explodes

Jeff Munson

A house painter suffered second- and third-degree burns over much of his body on Monday after an explosion caused by a buildup of fumes leveled a Meeks Bay home.

The badly burned victim was brought to the Meeks Bay Fire Protection District by a motorist who apparently saw the man blown out of the home at about 3:45 p.m., fire officials said.

“(The victim) came in screaming and yelling. He was quite distressed, and I’m sure was in quite unbelievable pain,” Fire Chief John Pang said.

Firefighters cared for the man, who was transported by a Tahoe City ambulance to Tahoe Forest Hospital then taken to the Davis Burn Center.

The house, which was recently remodeled, was reduced to cinders from the explosion and fire. The force of the explosion blew furniture and glass into the street, Pang said.

Witnesses told fire personnel the man was a subcontractor painting and using lacquer in the home. It is believed the victim turned on an electric heater, which ignited the combustible fumes buildup.

“The house exploded. It detonated. It’s a total loss. It was a ball of fire when we got there,” Pang said. “Had it been in the middle of summer, with the trees in the area, we would have been looking at a whole other scenario.”

Meeks Bay Fire Protection District was joined by second-responder North Tahoe Fire Protection District to the Mountain Drive home, which was unoccupied at the time. No other injuries were reported.