71-year-old died in explosion checking on his family’s home

Edgar Brummett had a lot to be thankful for.

The 71-year-old had just celebrated his birthday a week and a half earlier.

“He had 71 shots for his birthday, instead of blowing out 71 candles,” daughter Ginevra Boyes told Channel 2 Action News.

On Friday, the beloved grandfather died in a White County home explosion when he went to check on the heat after the furnace went out. The explosion reportedly damaged seven homes in the area and pushed some off their foundation.

RELATED: Gas leaks may have caused deadly Georgia home explosion

“Losing the house and all of our grandparents’ belongings was one thing,” granddaughter Katie McDonald told Channel 2, “but when you lose a loved one, the stuff doesn’t even matter anymore.”

According to officials, a propane gas leak inside the home led to the explosion along 64 Rhododendron Lane in the unincorporated Sautee Nacoochee community.

All indications are that the leak came from inside the home, according to David Murphy, the White County director of public safety.

The family had reported a gas leak before at their home and fueled it with 120 gallons of propane in December, Channel 2 reported. Four weeks later, it was empty and Brummett suspected it was due to a leak.

“He called (Tugalo Gas Company) and said they think there’s a leak because they’re out of gas, and they disputed it,” McDonald said.

The tank at the house passed a pressure check Jan. 31, Glenn Allen of the state insurance and safety fire commissioner’s office said, and 250 gallons of propane was loaded into the tank on that date. The tank has a 320-gallon capacity.

The gas company’s response left Boyes confused since she said the blast was felt in three counties.

“I don’t see how they could’ve tested and not found (a leak) if it was that severe,” she said.

Services for Brummett will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the family's lodge near the home. Family said it was his favorite spot in the home. A GoFundMe account had raised more than $4,800 by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“He saved his family in the end,” Boyes said. “My dad was always my hero and went out as my hero, too.”