An Alabama man severely injured in an explosion that leveled part of downtown Headland, Ala., Thursday morning is undergoing treatments for burn injuries in an Atlanta hospital.
Spencer Wells received skin grafts at a burn-treatment center in Atlanta Friday, June 3, Headland Chief of Police Mark Jones told reporters. Mr. Wells sustained severe burns to nearly 60 percent of his body when a blast of unknown origin occurred shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, destroying a Headland home and two businesses.
Headland is a community just north of Dothan in the southeastern corner of Alabama.
The explosion remains under investigation, but it was strong enough to take down three buildings, including an antiques store and diner, scattering debris over parts of town blocks away.
Mr. Wells, an employee of a Dothan chicken restaurant called Goldfinger’s, was preparing a bagel before leaving for work Thursday morning when the explosion occurred. Chief Jones said that Mr. Wells was near the epicenter of the explosion, which likely saved his life.
“The impact of the explosion is actually more significant when you are not as close to the actual ignition point,” Jones said.
Jones said investigators do not suspect foul play, according to the Dothan Eagle.
Gas service had been discontinued at Mr. Wells’ residence between 2009 and 2011 and electricity appeared to be the only power source. Jones did not rule out the possibility that residual gas in an old, nonfunctional line could have been set off.
“We don’t want to assume anything,” Jones said. “We can’t rule out a gas explosion. We see CSI on television and everything is solved in 45 minutes. We wish we could give you all the answers. But, we will work non-stop until we have those answers.”
No other injuries were reported.