Firefighter killed, 13 injured in Virginia home explosion

Only charred rubble remained in the aftermath of a house explosion late Friday in Sterling, Va., near the Washington Dulles International Airport. One firefighter was killed and 13 people were injured in the blast. Photo Courtesy Loudon County Fire and Rescue/Facebook

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A propane gas leak triggered a house explosion that killed one firefighter and injured 13 others in a "catastrophic" blast in Sterling, Va., late on Friday, authorities said.

The firefighter killed in the incident was identified as Trevor Brown, 45, a member of the Sterling Volunteer Fire Company, according to Loudoun County, Va., Fire and Rescue officials.

Brown was an seven-year veteran of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System.

Eleven of the 13 injured in the blast were fellow firefighters from in and around Sterling, located about 5 miles west of Washington Dulles International Airport and about 20 miles northwest of Arlington, Va.

The Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call regarding a gas odor at a residence in Sterling around 7:38 p.m. Friday.

Fire and rescue units from Sterling found a leaking 500-gallon underground propane tank on one side of the home and requested backup units and help from the county's Hazardous Materials Response Team, they said.

Soon after, a "catastrophic explosion" occurred and triggered multiple mayday calls for help from firefighters inside the home.

Fire and rescue crews located and rescued the trapped firefighters and two residents of the home who were buried beneath debris.

The 13 survivors were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, and four first-responders remained hospitalized Saturday, Loudoun County officials said.

The explosion left only a chimney and parts of some walls still standing and scattered debris among neighborhood trees, witnesses reported.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.