My boys and I spent last weekend up in Pleasant Grove with Greg's family. We made it home around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, the kids ready to fall into bed. Greg took Ethan, who had fallen asleep in the car, inside first. While I was working on getting Porter of his car seat, Greg brought Ethan back outside, put him back in the car, told me to leave Porter there because the house smelled like propane. Oh great.
We left the three kids in the car and I went inside with him. When we walked through the front door, the smell of natural gas was enough to nearly knock someone out. We didn't turn on any lights for fear of sparking the gas. I fumbled over to the stove to make sure all the knobs were turned to "off." They were. I gave Greg a flashlight to go into the basement. He told me that propane settles, so if I heard him fall (pass out), call for help and get the kids out of there. He crept downstairs and told me almost immediately to follow.
As I descended the stairs to the playroom in the basement, not only did the propane smell get stronger (kind of like you were breathing through a gas mask with propane in the tank), but something smelled charred. Greg had already shut off the gas main to the house, and on first inspection he immediately detected a small hole in the gas line. That accounted for the propane smell...but how had it gotten there?
On further investigation, we found that the door to Greg's office and our second storage room were open. These doors are NEVER open and have child locks on the doorknobs to discourage curious children who wander from the playroom. We looked into the storage room and found Greg's industrial work light (5 feet tall with two huge lamps which has not been used since we lived in Ogden) plugged in, toppled over, glass broken, and holes burned through a box and the carpet where it lay. That explained the charred smell. The biggest miracle of all, however, was that the box that the lamp burned two huge holes through held a collection of cleaning solutions, motor oil, aerosol cans, etc. from our many moves around the country - kind of our "throw it in at the last minute and we'll sort it at our next home" box. That box should have blown and taken our home with it.
Our neighbor and friend, the plumber who installed the furnace, water heater, etc., came right over to explore some more with Greg and sent me and the kids to his home where we waited and fought sleep until we had more news. Greg called and said the hole in the gas line was either a small drill hole or a puncture hole from a nail. He had called the Sheriff who was on his way. Nearly four hours later, the Sheriff was finished taking fingerprints and photos, and Greg came to take us all home so the boys could finally sleep. We dropped them in bed at about 10:45.
CONCLUSION: Someone was in our house on Saturday afternoon. We are not sure who or why someone would do something so malicious, but Porter's baby saucer and all the boys' toys and pictures scattered around the front room certainly did not deter them. Nothing was rifled through. Our big screen TV wasn't touched. Nothing was taken or disturbed. The only evidence of someone in our house was the deliberate puncture hole in the gas line and the attemped fire in the storage room. The only explanation as to why my house is still standing is the protection of a higher power. Science nor logic can explain away the box of aerosol cans and cleaning solutions not exploding and taking the house down with it, only faith and an increased testimony of the careful watch of our Heavenly Father.
The house has since been cleared of the smell of propane, althought the basement still smells charred. Our plumber friend cannot figure out the damage to the water heater (which was also deliberate - a backup plan, maybe?), so we are without hot water as well. I'm thankful for wonderful neighbors and family who are willing to let us infringe on their space to bathe and escape, and I'm grateful to Heavenly Father for sparing our home, our memories, our material life from the malicious intent of a person we cannot identify.