GAINESVILLE - Fire crews arrived at the scene of a home explosion to find the residence fully engulfed in flames, said a sergeant with the Gainesville Fire Department.
The explosion, which completely destroyed the home in the 200 block of West Tennie Street, was reported at about 7 a.m., according to Sgt. Bobby Balthrop.
City Manager Barry Sullivan said a city utilities crew was called to the area at about 1:36 a.m. to repair a water leak from a 12-inch main.
"City crews disturbed a gas line during the emergency repair," he said.
Atmos Energy was alerted and sent workers to test the air in the area. An Atmos spokeswoman said the detection of high levels of natural gas led to an evacuation of seven homes. Included in the evacuations were four people inside the home that subsequently exploded, the spokeswoman said.
No one was injured in the explosion.
As of noon, a two-block radius was cleared as Atmos crews worked to fix the problem.
A temporary shelter was set up at the Whaley United Methodist Church, located at 701 Rosedale Drive.
UPDATE 1/25: Thirstystone Resources, Inc, the company that employs the family whose home was destoyed in the blast, sent out a news release regarding a collection for the family on January 25. Here is a partial copy of that news release:
"Early Thursday morning the Martinez family Gainesville, TX was awakened by a knock on their door by local authorities requesting that they evacuate their Tennie Street home immediately, due to a gas leak that had been detected in the area. Martine and Alma Martinez and two of their children, Jose and Christian, left the home in their pajamas, leaving behind all their belongings. Hours later, the home exploded and burst into flames, destroying everything inside.
"Martine and Alma Martinez have been long-time employees of Thirstystone Resources, Inc., based out of Gainesville, TX, starting with the company in 2004. When Thirstystone relocated from Tucson, AZ to Texas in 2006, the couple moved as well, helping to set up the current facility. Martine works in the printing department, while his wife Alma works in the distribution department, specializing in packaging key account orders; most days they are first to arrive and are among the last to leave.
"Thirstystone Resources is seeking donations for the Martinez family. Any donations of gift cards, clothing and toiletries, household items and furniture, as well as monetary gifts would be greatly appreciated.
"All donations of furniture, bedding, non-perishable food, gift cards, clothing, and miscellaneous items can be brought to Thirstystone Resources at 1304 Corporate Dr., Gainesville, TX 76240; for item pick-up, please call (940) 668-6793, and arrangements will be made. An account for the family has also been set up with First State Bank under the name “Martinez Benefit Fund” for all monetary donations.
"The Martinez family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support that they have received thus far, and extend their gratitude and appreciation."