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Dave Roepke, Published November 23 2013

No one injured, chili survives in propane explosion in RV during Bison tailgating

FARGO – It’s not the sort of explosion usually associated with a pot of chili.

A group tailgating outside the Fargodome on Saturday morning in anticipation of the North Dakota State football game later in the day had a brief scare when an apparently faulty propane stove caused a blast inside their RV.

Jeff Brink, a 39-year-old Davenport farmer, went inside the RV to stir a pot of chili that had heated up for about 15 minutes on the stove when he saw blue flames shoot down from the stove’s burner that “looked like they were in mid-air.”

Brink immediately figured an immediate exit was in order, but he was still standing at the RV’s door fumbling to get it open when he heard a “whoosh.”

“The door kind of opened itself,” Brink said.

The explosion also “busted out every seam on the RV,” said Terry Turchin, of Audubon, Minn., one of a group of about eight season ticket holders who have used the 35-year-old vehicle as their tailgating headquarters for about six years. It even blew a window out.

Other than some singed eyelashes, Brink said he is fine.

The RV might not be as lucky. While the fire damage was limited, RV owner Todd Ostrom of West Fargo said he was going to have it towed away from the dome parking lot after the game. Given the damages to the seams, he’s worried that if he hit a bump, the whole vehicle could fall apart.

“I’m not going to even attempt it,” he said. “I don’t want anything else happening.”

Firefighters came out to take statements from those who witnessed the blast, and nearby tailgaters were quick to offer their help and supply backup food and drink, Turchin said.

Thankfully, there was no need for such assistance.

“We were fine,” Turchin said. “The chili’s fine, too.”