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State police unable to determine source of fatal South Beaver explosion

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, 3:48 p.m.

The cause of a house explosion that killed a South Beaver couple will remain undetermined, a state fire marshal said on Tuesday.

Ray Trautvetter, 74, and Janet Trautvetter, 69, died of blunt force trauma July 15 when their home was shattered in an explosion that scattered the couple's belongings across a wide area.

South Beaver Fire Chief Keith Girting said that investigators believe a kitchen stove on the home's first floor ignited propane gas that had leaked into the house.

However, Girting said, investigators were not able to determine the exact source of the propane leak.

The Trautvetters had a propane-fueled furnace installed at their Louthan Road home last fall, and as part of that work, had the propane service consolidated from four smaller tanks to one large outdoor tank, holding up to 500 gallons of propane, Trooper David Jungling, the fire marshal, said in July.

The couple hadn't reported any problems with the service since then, Jungling said.

A few days before the explosion, the Trautvetters told family members they wanted to get a basement stove connected to the propane tank, Jungling said. It wasn't clear if that work was done, he added.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.




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