A retired Cocke County math teacher was injured Tuesday when his lawnmower exploded as he started it.

Capt. Danny Shelton of the Cocke County Fire Department said Danny Kelley told him he was starting his riding lawnmower on the carport of his Brookstone Drive home in the Broad Acres subdivision at 11:45 a.m., when it exploded, burning the former teacher’s forehead and both arms.

“The explosion blew him off the mower,” the firefighter said.

Flames ignited the rafters in the carport and a pickup truck that was parked nearby. The blaze then spread to the single story brick residence. Although Kelley attempted to fight the fire with a water hose, he could not contain the flames.

The fire spread into the home itself destroying the main floor. However, firefighters were able to save a number of items in the basement area.

Shelton said firefighters were on the scene for nearly five hours and the damage to the home is expected to total $130,000.

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the Kelley family.