FORT WORTH - The dangerous natural gas couplings at the center of a four-year News 8 investigation do not appear to be responsible for a house explosion Sunday in Fort Worth.
While the owner and sole occupant of the house remains hospitalized, the cause of the explosion remains a mystery.
Ernest Long, of Fort Worth, says his 75-year-old brother Al was making breakfast Sunday morning when his house suddenly exploded. The house was leveled, his world ripped apart. His brother now clings to life with severe burns over 50 percent of his body.
"He's a pretty husky guy so I think he'll probably pull through it," Long said. "I'm not sure, but I hope he does."
As for what caused the explosion, Atmos crews have been drilling holes and testing for leaking gas along service lines and the gas main in yards and in the street.
At this point, there is no indication whatsoever that a leaking or faulty compression coupling is to blame. News 8 has been investigating house explosions associated with leaking and faulty compression couplings for nearly four years.
"We haven't had any problem with smelling any kind of gas," Long said. "About five years ago, Atmos re-did the gas lines in the street street and they made us put new lines in our yard."
None of the neighbors WFAA talked to could recall smelling gas outside their homes.
"I never would have thought that would happen, especially in this neighborhood," said Daniel Doyle, one of Long's neighbors. "I'm here ever day of my life and my son runs up and down these streets every day and I've never smelled gas."
By midday Monday, Atmos crews had abandoned their investigation and had left the scene.
It's now up the officials with the Texas Railroad Commission to determine the cause of the explosion and up to family members to remain hopeful.
"Inside that house is his whole life," said Deana Long, the victim's niece. "But, thank God he's alive. That's all I care about."