A woman is in critical condition with severe burn injuries at a Dallas, Texas, hospital after an explosion linked to an Atmos Energy gas line leveled her house Monday morning and forced the evacuation of other homes in her Waxhachie subdivion.
The gas explosion is still under investigation and authorities would not speculate about the possible causes. Atmos energy, however, said in a statement Wednesday that investigators found evidence of “substantial third-party damage to a natural gas line” that was “very close to the epicenter of the explosion at a home on Arabian Road.”
Adele Chavez, 69, was at home with her brother Jaymie Rodriguez, when her house in the Saddlebrook Estates neighborhood blew up without warning. Ms. Chavez was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas hospital for treatment of severe burns that cover 35 to 40 percent of her body and a shoulder injury. She remains in intensive care.
“She was responsive and was able to pray with the Pastors while they were there,” an announcement by Ms. Chavez’s church said, according to WFAA Dallas-Fort Worth. “We need to continue to pray that her lungs are good as well as a good prognosis on the burn damage to her body. Please also pray that skin grafts would be minimal.”
Mr. Rodriguez suffered burns on his arms and face and was listed in “good” condition and is expected to be released from the hospital this week.
The explosion completely destroyed Ms. Chavez’s home, leaving holes and debris that affected a broad area of surrounding homes. The occupants of at least 10 homes were evacuated and were able to return home on Wednesday. The Red Cross and Salvation Army have been helping the displaced residents, providing assistance meals for up to 120 people.
According to WFAA, the Waxahachie fire chief and fire marshal “confirmed damage to not only the natural gas line, but also a sewer pipe running to the home that sustained the heaviest damage.”
The neighborhood was marked with dozens of yellow flags to mark Atmos gas lines and orange flags designating AT&T digital cables. AT&T confirmed it hired a contractor to perform work in Ms. Chavez’s neighborhood and was seeking information from that company.