Lewisville gas blast victims pick through the rubble

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 15 at 5:47 PM

Duplex explosion

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LEWISVILLE — A lot of debris remains on the site where Friday's gas explosion leveled a duplex in Lewisville.

There is a pyramid of splintered wood, with debris sprinkled on nearby trees and even the roofs of neighboring homes.

One resident who said her name was "Lori" was too distraught to speak with us on camera, but said she was looking for anything to salvage on Saturday.

Ron Batts, president of Christian Community Action, which owns the damaged properties, took us to an adjacent home.

"You can see the force of the blast blew the windows out and blew things through the house,” Batts said.

The damaged homes sit 50 feet from the blast site. Another resident, Cathy Greer, just came by to grab what she could and carry it away in bags.

Greer was lucky — she left her home an hour before the explosion. She watched it on TV after friends called asking if she was OK.

"The picture they were showing... I immediately recognized it," Greer said. "It was horrible."

But not everybody was so fortunate. A man neighbors call "Scott" was inside the duplex that exploded. As of Saturday night, a hat he always wore sat among the rubble.

“He's extremely critical, so we're monitoring it closely,” Batts said.

The Lewisville fire chief told News 8 Scott was notified about the gas leak, which happened when a utility company drilled a hole that punctured the line Friday morning.

Scott was not ordered to evacuate because his home was upwind from the leak.

 

After witnessing the damage for himself, State Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Lewisville) called on utility companies and government officials to learn from what happened on Friday.

"We need to check our protocols, and we need to check our procedures to make sure that they do not need to be evaluated, and changed, and improved upon," he said.

 

Two firefighters were hurt in the blast, but they are now okay.

Utility crews continued work to secure the gas line on Saturday night. Neighboring residents whose homes weren't damaged cannot return for a few days, because the scene has yet to be cleared and the power is still out.

Those residents are staying in nearby hotels.

If you’d like to help the families that have been displaced, visit the Christian Community Action website to donate or volunteer.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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