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Plano home explosion that left 6 hospitalized was caused by an isolated gas leak, fire officials say

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 7/20/2021 Catherine Marfin, The Dallas Morning News
a person sitting on a pile of wood: Inspectors from the Plano Fire Marshall office examine the site of a house explosion on the 4400 block of Cleveland Drive in Plano, Texas, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The explosion, which happened Monday, left six people hospitalized and was likely due to an isolated gas leak, fire investigators said. © Lynda M. González/Staff Photographer Inspectors from the Plano Fire Marshall office examine the site of a house explosion on the 4400 block of Cleveland Drive in Plano, Texas, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The explosion, which happened Monday, left six people hospitalized and was likely due to an isolated gas leak, fire investigators said.

The explosion in a Plano neighborhood that leveled one home, damaged several others and left six people hospitalized was likely caused by an isolated gas leak, fire investigators said Tuesday.

Plano Fire-Rescue said in a Facebook post that the leak most likely happened inside the house, but that further investigation is needed to determine where in the home it occurred. The extensive damage to the home from Monday’s explosion will make that investigation difficult, fire officials said.

a man and a woman walking down a street next to a tree: Theo Laskaris, center, and Virginia French, right, examine the damage at the site of a house explosion on the 4400 block of Cleveland Drive in Plano, Texas, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The explosion, which happened Monday, left six people hospitalized and was likely due to an isolated gas leak, fire investigators said. French lives nearby, and said she thought the explosion was thunder during an afternoon storm. “This is terrifying, I’m in shock,” French said. “It could happen to anybody. How am I supposed to know if I have a gas leak I don’t know about? It just scares me.” © Lynda M. González/Staff Photographer Theo Laskaris, center, and Virginia French, right, examine the damage at the site of a house explosion on the 4400 block of Cleveland Drive in Plano, Texas, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. The explosion, which happened Monday, left six people hospitalized and was likely due to an isolated gas leak, fire investigators said. French lives nearby, and said she thought the explosion was thunder during an afternoon storm. “This is terrifying, I’m in shock,” French said. “It could happen to anybody. How am I supposed to know if I have a gas leak I don’t know about? It just scares me.”

One adult who lived in the home that exploded was hospitalized, as were two adults and three children from a neighboring house that was severely damaged by the blast.

The explosion happened around 4:40 p.m. Monday near West Park Boulevard and Coit Road. Several people called 911 to report the blast.

”They were using the phrase, ‘completely gone,’ so we knew it was serious,” Plano Fire-Rescue Capt. Peggy Harrell said.

Officials from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded, where they used a dog to rule out the existence of any explosives. Authorities have ruled out foul play but are still trying to determine where exactly the explosion happened.

Authorities are also examining whether lightning from a storm that was over the area at the time of the explosion may have played a part.

”Everything is being considered at this time,” Harrell said.

Late Tuesday morning, several people who lived around the Cleveland Avenue home stopped by to take in the damage.

One home was an unrecognizable heap of building material centered around a leaning, but still-standing tree. White insulation blanketed the sidewalk in front of the home, as well as several cars and other homes in the neighborhood.

Across the street, two large pieces of roofing lay in a neighbor’s yard. One piece of roofing impaled the ground several inches deep.

The houses to the immediate east and west of the home that exploded were also heavily damaged. In one house lived the five other people who were injured. A woman who lived in the other home was not injured, fire officials said.

Jeff Kribs, who lives more than a block away from the explosion, said he heard a “sonic boom” and initially thought a nearby home was struck by lightning.

”I’m surprised by how far away it was,” Kribs said as he walked down Cleveland Avenue on Tuesday.

Jessica Clark and her dad, Mitch Bunn, live a street over from where the explosion happened. Clark she felt the blast lift her house.

”This looks like a war zone,” Clark said as she surveyed the damage.

Clark said the explosion cracked the skylight on her home. Bunn heard the explosion from a Dairy Queen about a mile away.

”I was thinking ‘C4,” he said.

While several homes are damaged, Harrell, the fire captain, said none are in any immediate danger.

While firefighters are “very thankful the injuries were limited,” Harrell said the neighborhood and Plano will continue to feel the effects of the explosion for a long time.

”This will reverberate for a while,” she said.

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