Explosion in northwest Oklahoma City destroys one house, damages four others

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OKLAHOMA — A natural gas explosion leveled one home and damaged four others in a new northwest Oklahoma City neighborhood early Saturday afternoon.

“The loudest noise I ever heard,” said Rusty Jones, who was just moving in to his new home across the street. “Sounded like a bomb going off. And I rapidly went around the side of the house to get away from it all and I felt glass hitting me in the back.”

Jones was not hurt, but he and his wife say they were shocked at what they found around 12:30 p.m. in the 10800 block of N.W. 32 Terrance, near Sara Rd.

“We just kind of stood around,” said Suzan Gerulski. “We were just in shock. We all were. Neighbors were coming out.”

Gerulski’s garage suffered significant damage in an explosion that fire officials are blaming on natural gas, though it’s not clear what sparked it.

 

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“It looks like an appliance was stolen out of one of the model homes and in turn caused the natural gas to fill up the house,” said District Fire Chief Cathy Hayes. “As it’s pulled away from the wall, it disconnects from the piping that comes into the appliance and basically fills the house up with gas.”

A salesperson for the new housing community had walked across the street to the home to check its sprinkler system, Hayes said. When he opened the garage door, he smelled gas and turned to leave.

Fire officials say he made it five steps before the home exploded.

No one was injured.

“I head this big boom, the house shook, and I was thinking, “was that an earthquake or another explosion?” said David Luckett, who lives a couple miles away and came to survey the  damage. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

Insulation littered the ground throughout the neighborhood and shattered glass was strewn across the street.

They are still investigating the model home under construction, which was “totally obliterated.”

Two uninhabited adjacent houses received heavy damage and “pretty much will not be livable,” the fire department said.

Two other homes across the street also received some damage.

In all, the fire department estimates the explosion did about $647,000 worth of damage.

Cleanup crews say they will be working well into the night and early morning sweeping the streets and boarding up the houses to stop looting.

Oklahoma Natural Gas says there were no flaws in its equipment.

In January, a home exploded near NW 122nd St. and Rockwell.

In that case, ONG reported poor workmanship was to blame for the explosion, citing a crack in the weld of a plastic pipe, which had not been inspected in 33 years.

 

.Homes by Taber released a statement on Monday saying theft at construction sites is common and costly. The company reports they paid a total of $50,000 in 2015 as a result of theft and so far in 2016 have paid $10,000 which doesn’t include this incident. Taber says someone entered the home and stole the overn and report the damage is close to almost 1 million dollars

 

 

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