Arundel man, father in critical condition after home explosion

July 14, 2000

A 74-year-old Millersville man and his 40-year-old son remained in critical condition yesterday after a propane explosion that destroyed the family house in the Elvaton Acres neighborhood Tuesday night.

Robert M. Sawyer Sr. and Thomas "Nelson" Sawyer, who lives in Glen Burnie, are being treated at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Burn Unit for severe burns to their upper bodies. Their conditions are unchanged, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Robert Sawyer's wife of 44 years, Betty R. Sawyer, was killed in the explosion.

Fire investigators are waiting to interview the two men to determine what ignited the propane gas that they believe leaked into the house from a nearby 500-gallon underground tank. Investigators need to talk with the Sawyers to discover what led to the explosion, Anne Arundel County Fire Battalion Chief John M. Scholz said.

The propane tank once heated an outdoor pool, gas grill and furnace. The tank apparently was no longer used by the Sawyers.

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