Utility won't link home explosion to natural gas leak

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 7:40 PM

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NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — The family of an eight-year-old girl who was badly burned during a home explosion suspected to be from a gas leak wants answers from Atmos Energy.

Marvin Reinoshek, who was inside the home in the 7900 block of Harwood Road on Saturday when it exploded with his niece Maya Javier and some of his own children, said the family is still in disbelief about what happened.

"It could have leveled the whole block. There was enough gas to do some serious damage. How could they not know that?" Reinoshek asked.

Other neighbors were told their homes were also filled with gas.

Nancy Conkle said she feels fortunate that no one in her family was home to spark a similar explosion.

Atmos told her their house also smelled of heavy gas. Officials opened the home's windows to dissipate the vapors.

"My granddaughter and her daughter were sitting in my driveway, and they could have come in," Conkle said.

Atmos Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Ryan said workers discovered a leak on a distribution gas line along Harwood Road. "Our crews have cut out that section of line and replaced the pipe,” she said. "We have performed a thorough safety test on that pipeline and restored natural gas service to the neighborhood."

Ryan noted that Atmos Energy has not yet been able to link the leak on its distribution line to Saturday's explosion. "Investigations of this nature can take time,” she said.

Maya Javier is still in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Her family said she was alert, but fell very ill again on Monday.

The energy company urges anyone who smells gas at any time to leave the area right away. Any spark -- from turning on a switch to using a cell phone -- can ignite volatile gas.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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