Police: Man planned murder-suicide home explosion

7-23-13-kelso propane case
Harry A. Reynolds appears in court Tuesday, July 23, 2013, facing charges in the Kelso propane case. (KOIN 6 News)

KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) – A 55-year-old man is under arrest after he failed to blow up his Kelso home using propane in an alleged attempt to kill his wife and himself Monday afternoon.

Harry A. Reynolds emptied a 5-gallon propane tank in the house on the 900 block of 5th Avenue S. and waited for his wife, Phyllis Reynolds, to come home, Kelso police said. He then reportedly lured her inside and blocked the doorway, but failed to ignite the propane.

A man is under arrest after he failed to blow up his home in Kelso using propane in an alleged attempt to kill his wife and himself, July 23, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Justin Beach)
(Justin Beach/KOIN 6 News)

She escaped and fled to the Kelso Police Department at about 4:30 p.m. Reynolds was arrested on first-degree assault charges.

Kelso police Capt. Darr Kirk said officers found two propane tanks that could have caused a “significant explosion.” Kirk stated that investigators are grateful, but unsure why the explosion did not occur.

“I don’t know what the saturation levels were, but I know it was enough that our officer did not feel safe going in there until it was vented out,” Kirk said.

Neighbors told KOIN that the couple appeared to be going through marital problems. Neighbor Maggie Robbins told KOIN that Phyllis Reynolds came over to her house in tears Monday evening following her husband’s arrest.

“She was pretty shaky, and crying, and she told me what he’d done, and I was in shock,” Robbins said.

“I knew they were having some problems but I didn’t know it had gone that far.”

Nearby resident Niki McGinley said that a large group of neighbors happened to be sitting together outside Monday afternoon near the Reynolds’ home during the incident.

“I’m really glad that it didn’t go any farther than an attempt because, you know, we were all out here with our kids,” McGinley said.

“I’m scared, because he not only could have taken them out, but everybody around,” Robbins added.

Reynolds was arraigned Tuesday in Cowlitz County Court.

Elissa Harrington contributed to this report.

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