Suspected gas blast destroys home
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First responders, fire officials say it is a miracle no lives were lost
Investigators still trying to determine exact cause of blast that sent one to hospital with severe burns
By RUSSELL TURNER
State and local officials continue to investigate the source of an explosion and fire that completely destroyed a local home and seriously injured one of its residents.
Firefighters and emergency officials responded to a fire call at a residence on Underwood Ball Road around 6 a.m. Friday and found the home in question completely destroyed. Fire investigators believe an explosion of liquefied compressed gas (LCG) was responsible for the destruction, but have not ruled officially on the incident.
Two people were inside the home at the time of the blast. Katherine Hair, 47, was alert and walking around the scene when first responders arrived on the scene. They immediately began providing medical attention to the 47-year-old, who reportedly had severed burns over 50 percent of her body. She was later taken by air ambulance to USA Medical Center in Mobile, Ala., and as of press time reportedly remained there in critical condition. Hair’s mother, Willie Jean Jenkins, age unknown, was also in the home, but miraculously did not sustain any injuries.
Dustin Jenkins, who lives next door, heard the explosion and reportedly got the two women out of the burning home.
Ben Brown from the State Fire Marshall’s Office told the Herald investigators were unable to definitively determine the cause of the damage, but the evidence is consistent with a LCG explosion.
“From witness accounts and the debris field it appears to have been a propane gas explosion,” Brown said. “We will be back on the scene Monday to hopefully finish our investigation.
Community residents over a mile from the home reported hearing the explosion, with some saying the blast shook windows in their home. Debris was blown well over 50 feet from the structure and Brown said both women were lucky to be alive.