A natural gas explosion inside a Madison, W. Va. apartment complex injured six people Friday afternoon, including two who are in critical condition with severe burn injuries.
The State Fire Marshal told West Virginia’s 13 News that the blast remains under investigation, but it is known that work was being performed on a gas line before the explosion and that the blast was the result of an accident. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that workers were installing a gas heater at the time. Additional details about the gas line and the work crew were not immediately available.
One of the injured residents, Loretta Adkins, 35, was airlifted to the burn unit of Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., where she remains in critical condition.
Another, unidentified, resident was also reported to be in critical condition, but the nature and extent of his injuries are unknown. A witness who lives across the street from the apartment building said that she saw a man with a shirt melted to his body.
Authorities started receiving 911 calls around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. Responders arriving at the scene found a partially destroyed two-story unit with the walls and windows blown out. The Madison Volunteer Fire Department extinguished a small fire that had broken out inside the building.
The fire department reported that the blast damaged nine structures.
“All of a sudden, the house, it sounded like a huge, huge explosion and the house shook. My first instinct was to run out front and I automatically saw that the apartment blew up,” Brenda Ellis, a neighbor who lives across the street from the apartment building, told Civitas Media.