Grace Community Church fatal grill explosion ruled accidental
Last Updated: 105 days ago
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - Investigators said a recent grill explosion that killed a man was a pure accident, spurred on by accumulation of propane gas in all the wrong places.
Noblesville Fire Department Division Chief Rick Russell said Friday morning that the Hamilton County coroner has ruled the cause of death accidental for Douglas B. Gripp, the owner and operator of a custom-made grill being used Monday at a cookout in the parking lot of Grace Community Church.
Investigators said at roughly 5:15 p.m. Monday, Gripp was grilling in the parking lot for a barbecue. Investigators said they discovered that during the heating process, propane gas from the grill accumulated in and around the area of the side burner, as well as a large warming compartment.
Investigators said when Gripp went to ignite the side burner with a multi-purpose lighter, a spark from the lighter ignited the flammable propane gas, causing an explosion.
The gas that had accumulated in the warming compartment forced the 36-inch-by-48-inch door of the grill to open at a high speed. It hit Gripp and caused his death, the fire department said.
Investigators said they inspected the barbecue grill for prior damage and leaks at pipe junctions, but the propane gas connections and fittings were all operating properly.
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