Akron, Ohio, fire officials suspect a natural gas leak may have triggered a massive explosion that completely leveled a home and rocked an entire neighborhood Feb. 7.
Authorities said that one man, presumably a resident of the destroyed home, was found several feet from the house with a bloodied face, according to ABC News 5 Cleveland. As of Thursday evening the man remained unidentified and his condition was unknown, but rescuers were “absolutely amazed” that he was still alive, Fox 8 Cleveland reported.
According to Fox 8, “neighbors were worried about a 49-year-old man they said lived alone at the house following the death of his mother.”
Paramedics also rescued and treated an injured cat at scene, but Akron Fire Department Public Information Officer Michael Brooks told Fox 8 that it wasn’t clear whether the cat was from the house that exploded.
The explosion happened around 7:30 p.m. in a west Akron residential area, where people said they felt and heard the explosion three miles away. Sone neighbors told the press they feared a bomb had exploded nearby. One woman who lived a mile away told Fox 8 that she thought a car had hit her house but when she went outside to look she didn’t see anything.
Homes near the blast site, many of which had blown-out windows and other damage, were evacuated. Gas and electricity service was cut off in the immediate area as investigators sifted through the rubble.
The Akron Fire Department said that investigators returned the following morning to the home, where they were joined by gas and electrical company inspectors.
Dense accumulations of natural gas in a home or other building usually stem from a broken or severed utility line in or under the structure. More than 177 million Americans rely on natural gas for some of their energy needs.
If you smell the characteristic “rotten egg” smell of natural gas (a scent that gas companies add for safety reasons since natural gas really has no odor), there are certain measures you should take.
- All people and pets should be evacuated from the home immediately. Call 911 or your local gas company from outside your home.
- Do not use any electronic or electrical device and do not light a spark or flame as you evacuate the house.
- Leave the door open after leaving to help dissipate any accumulations of gas
- Never assume a gas leak you smell may have been reported already.
- Do not return until a gas utility worker, police, fireman, or other appropriate authority tells you it is safe.