Fact Check

Did an Explosion at Al Franken's Montana Ranch Kill 6 People?

The fake news article misuses an image of a New York City building fire.

Published Feb. 7, 2018

 (miker / Shutterstock.com)
Image courtesy of miker / Shutterstock.com
An explosion at Al Franken's Montana ranch killed six people.

On 5 February 2018, the entertainment web site The Last Line of Defense published a fake news article claiming that six people had been killed in an explosion at former Minnesota senator Al Franken's ranch in Montana:

Investigators are looking for answers after six people died in an explosion at Al Franken’s Montana ranch. The explosion, which appears to have originated in the basement, was heard nearly three miles away. The closest neighbor, a farm nearly a mile away, felt what they thought was a “mild earthquake. When first-responders arrived on site, they found a huge hole in the center of the ranch and bodies strewn about the surrounding area.

There is no truth to this story.

The Last Line of Defense is an entertainment publication that does not publish factual stories. The web site carries a "Satire" tag in its footer and writes on its About page that all of its content is fictional:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.

The featured photograph in this article does show a real fire. However, it did not occur on Al Franken's Montana ranch. Notably: We found no evidence that Franken actually owns a ranch in Montana.

This image actually shows a November 2017 fire at an apartment building:

A massive 6-alarm fire is burned through a six-story building in Upper Manhattan.

The fire broke out on the top floor around 3:15 p.m. Friday at 565 West 144th St. near Broadway in Hamilton Heights.


ABC 7 New York.   "250+ Firefighters Battle Massive Fire in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan."     17 November 2017.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.