If you smell gas in your house, there is one simple rule to follow: Leave.
Don't try to fix the leak yourself.
"If you smell propane, call emergency services," Danbury fire marshal James Johnson said. Then "call your propane provider."
That's the safety message following a fatal propane gas explosion in New Milford that reduced a house to splinters, killed one man and badly injured the homeowner and a child.
Homeowner John Wilkinson smelled gas in his house the evening of Aug. 29. The odor was strong enough for him to send his two sons to a neighbor's house.
Mr. Wilkinson then tried to repair the leak with the help of his friend, Anthony Fratino III.
Thinking the leak was fixed, he called his neighbor to say the house was safe.
Seconds later, it blew up, killing Mr. Fratino and badly injuring Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Fratino's 9-year-old son, Nicholas.
Propane gas, like natural gas, is colorless and odorless. For safety reasons, it has an additive -- ethyl mercaptan -- that gives it a distinctive, rotten-egg smell.
Then "call the fire department," she said.
"That stops the flow of gas into the rest of the house," he said.
Put some distance between you and the tank, Mr. Rose said, then use a cellphone to call the local fire department, then the propane gas provider.
The fire department, he said, can set up a safety zone around the house.
The propane company staff, who are trained professionals, can enter the building and fix the leak.
Staying in the house, even to hang up a phone or shut off a light, can create a tiny spark that sets off the gas, Mr. Johnson said. That's why it's so important to evacuate the building.
"It doesn't take much of anything at all," he said.
Mr. Rose added, if you're worried about your propane fixtures, call the company where you buy propane.
"They can come out and do a leak test," he said.