Source of Irving house explosion still a mystery

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by By BRETT SHIPP / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on May 4, 2009 at 11:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 11 at 4:51 PM

HOME EXPLOSION

Brett Shipp reports

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IRVING - As an Irving man recovers from burns on his face and hands, his family said they have been left wondering what caused their home to blow up.

No reports of gas smells were reported that Sunday, and Atmos Energy said they haven't found any answers yet.

By all accounts, Brad Luttrell is lucky to be alive. He is recovering at Parkland Hospital after a violent explosion gutted his home while he was inside.

Guy Byrd was across the street at the time and said he is amazed that Luttrell escaped alive.

"We heard it go off and I looked and the top of that house was sky-high and fire was coming out of it," he said.

Teresa Ratta, another neighbor, was at home at the time of the explosion. She said she is worried that no one reported smelling gas before the blast.

"He said himself that he smelled no gas when he walked in the house, none," she said.

Thus far, Atmos Gas has not found a leak. Their investigation has led to a gas line buried under the street. And while Atmos officials will not discuss any findings or suspicions, their digging has unearthed a possible clue.

A heavy presence of natural gas has seeped up from a general area near the home where Atmos crews dug. While it isn't known if it's coming from a pipe or from the soil that has been exposed at this point, Atmos officials said they don't know what the source is but are trying to work as fast as they can to make that determination.

The family said Sunday's explosion was ignited when Luttrell lit a cigarette.

In May of 2007, gas seeping undetected into a home in Cleburne ignited when a cigarette was lit. Two people died in the explosion and three others were seriously burned. The cause was traced back to a defective compression coupling under the street.

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