Explosion levels house in East Lewisville - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Explosion levels house in East Lewisville

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By NOMAAN MERCHANT
Associated Press

LEWISVILLE, Texas (AP) -- An explosion Friday in a North Texas neighborhood leveled a home that is part of a nonprofit group's affordable housing program, injuring at least three men and scattering debris.

Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the blast inside the home in Lewisville, about 20 miles northwest of Dallas. Two firefighters who were standing on the street near the home and another man who was inside were injured.

Lewisville Assistant Fire Chief Brian Freed said crews will search the debris, but officials believe they've accounted for everyone who might have been in the duplex. The injured man is believed to live alone, based on what neighbors told firefighters, Freed said.

Firefighters had waited to search the debris until natural gas lines near the home were shut down.

The injured men were taken to Medical Center of Lewisville. Freed said the injured man was in intensive care after surgery. One of the firefighters was hospitalized with chest pains but was expected to recover. The other firefighter had been treated and released.

The home is owned by Christian Community Action, which rents it out to families who are struggling financially, said Ron Batts, president and CEO of the nonprofit group.

Freed said firefighters had first gone to the home around 10 a.m. Friday after a gas leak was reported. Natural gas provider Atmos Energy worked on the leak for about 2 1/2 hours when the home, which was next to the line being worked on, exploded.

"There was no indication. It was just an immediate explosion," Freed said. Some homes in the area had been evacuated when the leak was first reported, he said.

Jennifer Ryan, a spokeswoman for Atmos Energy, had no details on what led to the blast and said the cause was under investigation.

"Our No. 1 priority right now is to make sure the area is safe and secure for all the residents," Ryan said.

Ray Hall, owner of Hall Electrical Services, a business near the explosion, said he and others were inside their building when they heard a large boom.

Hall described the blast as "a tremendous explosion" and said he saw high flames and debris floating in the air.

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Associated Press writer Diana Heidgerd contributed to this report from Dallas.

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