Explosion destroys trailer home in east Havre


Courtesy photo/Misty Swenson

An interior view is shown of the trailer home that exploded Wednesday morning in Hacienda Trailer Court at 1945 2nd St. Northeast in Havre.

Judy Hagenau got off of work at 10 a. m. Wednesday and headed to her home in the Hacienda Trailer Park on Havre's east side, with her husband Mark. When they arrived, their home smelled very strongly of natural gas. Minutes later, while they were walking around inside, it exploded.

"I was blown across the trailer, " Mark said. "It pretty much picked up the trailer and slammed it back down.

"I thought we were goners. "

Luckily everyone was safe. Mark and Judy made it out alive, as did their two daughters, Taewny and Hailey, who were staying with their older sister at the time of the explosion, according to family friend Misty Swenson.

However, most of their belongings were destroyed.

Mark said Wednesday afternoon that most everything was lost, and he didn't know what they were going to do, though his wife has a lot of family in town who could help.

Not only relatives were offering support, though. Kaydee Carnahan and Kortez Franks, whose house was destroyed two weeks ago in a massive multi-house fire on 6th Street, came to offer their support and to share some of what they had left.

Carnahan said her friend called and asked if she had anything to help with victims of the fire, and she wanted to contribute some of the extra supplies that people had recently given her.

"The community has been nothing but awesome for us with what's going on, and we wanted to return the favor, " Carnahan said.

When she eventually heard the victims' names, she realized that she has known them for a while, working in previous jobs with Judy and currently working at Walmart with Mark.

Like Carnahan and Franks' fire on 6th Street, Havre Fire Chief Dave Sheppard said that this trailer explosion was caused by a malfunctioning gas line.

Sheppard said this morning that the fire department had just finished its investigation and determined that the explosion was caused by a leak under the trailer.

Courtesy photo/Misty Swenson

Judy and Mark Hagenau, from left, stand with Kortez Franks and Kaydee Carnahan. Franks and Carnahan gave the Hagenaus some of the extra supplies and essentials that were donated to them after their own house was destroyed by a fire two weeks ago.

"We had a natural gas leak that was caused by a problem with the plumbing of the gas line underneath the structure," Sheppard said. "The line had partially broken, and it was ignited by a hot water heater."

Swenson said the leak was so bad a neighbor five doors down claimed to have smelled it.

Mark said that Tuesday night he and his wife had smelled gas, but it had dissipated by the time they went to bed.

Also Tuesday night, the fire department received a call from a trailer on the same block reporting sparking power lines, during the thunderstorm. While firefighters notified NorthWestern Energy, who turned the callers electricity off, Sheppard said the two events are unrelated.

He added that there was significant heat and smoke damage to the rear bedroom and bathroom of the building, with smoke damage throughout.


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