O’FALLON, Mo. — Several victims are demanding answers after a gas leak causes a home to explode into a pile of debris. No one was hurt in the incident, but several homes were damaged.
The City of O’Fallon says a contractor struck a gas line Tuesday morning, resulting in the explosion of one home and damage to several others. The city said in a statement on Facebook:
Today’s situation follows another gas line that was struck last week. One company has been involved in both of these events. After today’s incident, the company voluntarily stopped all work in the city. The city has accepted this voluntary termination and has suspended all permits related to work by this company.
Prior to restarting any work, the company will be required to submit documentation showing what happened in these incidents and what changes are being made to ensure the safety of our residents. Residents should be aware that there are other fiber companies within the city who continue to work without incident. These companies are free to continue their work.
O’Fallon Assistant Fire Chief Andy Parish said a crew was called out to the neighborhood shortly after the fiber crew hit a gas line. He said incidents like that happen all the time and usually do not have such a severe impact.
“This is kind of shocking, I mean to have a crew on the scene and to have this happen. I’m thankful for their safety, as well as the residents that they were able to get out and not have anything happen,” said Parish.
Rachel Owens said she and her dad were not home – but her sister was. Owens said her sister smelled the gas and ran out of the house before the explosion.
“The explosion opened the dishwasher. It opened the microwave. It threw everything from the cabinets,” Owens said.
She said nearly every room had damage. Most of the windows and outside of the house were also damaged.
“We built this house from the ground up, and just to see it could be taken down so easily is hard,” Owens said. “To know it just could’ve been gone like that the way their house was, that’s crazy.”
Owens’ dad, Ken Stout, was at work and is grateful his family and neighbors are okay.
“My neighbor, he lost everything. Everything that he’s ever owned — heirlooms, his wedding rings, pictures — nothings left,” Stout said. “That’s a rude awakening to anybody on how deadly that stuff is. You’re living in a time bomb.”
The house opposite Stout caught fire from the explosion. Owners Justin and Brandi Wear say two rooms are destroyed and the home is currently condemned.
“We have mixed emotions. I’m frustrated,” Justin said.
Justin said he wants to know what led up to the gas line break. He said he’s grateful for the support from his neighborhood.
“Everyone kinda looks out for everyone. It is good to see some of that happening with something so severe,” he said.
There is a GoFundMe page set up for the victims who lost their entire home set up by the wife’s co-workers.
“We are creating this to help one of our loving teachers at Little Learners of O’Fallon,” the GoFundMe reads. “Mrs. Judy has been our morning infant teacher since we moved into this building over a year ago, and she always reminds us of how big her heart is. She is always the first one to jump in when someone needs help, and now it’s our turn to help her.”
Donations have already begun pouring in pushing the fundraiser to more than half of its $5,000 goal.
To view the GoFundMe, visit: https://gf.me/v/c/fb3s/home-exploded-family-lost-everything