Neighbors not surprised by deadly blast

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by ANDREW HORANSKY / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 10 at 9:33 PM

AUSTIN -- Friends say Renald Ferrovecchio had an eight-year-old son in Houston and that he planned on one day moving there. But on Monday, that plan changed after an explosion leveled Ferrovecchio’s home while he was inside. He never made it out.

“I’m angry because he died so senselessly,” said friend and contractor Kristi Copeland. “He was the nicest guy.”

Copeland said she first smelled gas at the home in October and that Ferrovecchio called Texas Gas Service in November.

She said crews arrived in December and even dug a hole; however they could not find the source of the smell.

On Monday morning the home exploded.

“It was completely preventable,” Copeland said. “He [Ferrovecchio] did exactly what he was supposed to do.”

The blast was so strong it knocked the house next door off its foundation. It also showered glass on the street and covered rooftops with debris.

One of those rooftops belongs to 87-year-old Ethel Speir, who said she started smelling gas days ago.

On Tuesday repair crews centered their work on the huge hole in what was one Ferrovecchio’s front yard.

Investigators said it was still too early to know what caused the blast, which is now being investigated by the Texas Railroad Commission.

Tuesday Texas Gas Service released this statement:

STATEMENT

January 10, 2012

Customer Contact

Following is the chronology of the events we have confirmed:

·         On November 25, Texas Gas Service received a call from the customer at 1712 Payne Avenue, advising of a natural gas odor.  We responded that day, discovered a leak and scheduled it for repair.           

·         Following the discovery of the leak, repair efforts began and the process was still under way at the time of this tragic event.

 

 Today’s Activity

Today, we have continued to contact the remaining customers in the area who are still without natural gas service and were not at home last night when we attempted to restore their service. 

At this time, service cannot be restored to 15 customers.  We are working on a plan to restore service to these customers as soon as safely possible.  In the meantime, we are offering hotel accommodations to them.

If customers have no natural gas service and have not been contacted by us, they should call 512-465-1162.

We also have begun additional testing at the property, in conjunction with the Railroad Commission of Texas.    

Additional Information

We remain focused on investigating the incident and cooperating with the authorities, while ensuring the safety and well-being of the community and our customers. 

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