Residents await gas line repairs following explosion


by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 28 at 10:26 AM

6:11 a.m. Update:

Residents at Briarcreek Loop who are still without gas service can call Texas Community Propane at 272-5503 to have service restored.

3:30 a.m. Update:

Texas Community Propane tells us they have four crews still out going door-to-door trying to restore gas service to the neighborhood.  So far they have visited several hundred homes potentially affected.  The company also tells us the workers injured in the explosion are in stable condition at University Medical Center Brackenridge.

Original Story:

AUSTIN -- Workers remained until well after dark sorting through the wreckage left by a gas explosion that rocked a house on the 11500 block of Briarcreek Loop just outside the town of Manor.

Firefighters told KVUE the homeowners were outside working on a gas line when it began to leak. The homeowners called the gas company Texas Community Propane, which sent workers to help.

Shortly after the workers arrived, something went wrong.

"As the workers were working on the line, there was an unknown ignition source," said Capt. Von Beals with Travis County Emergency Services District 12. "They had a gas explosion, both workers were burned, first and second degree burns, mainly to the upper extremeties and to the face."
Firefighters had responded earlier at about 1:45 p.m. to reports of the gas leak, but couldn't find the source. Half an hour later, they were responding to neighbors' reports of fire.

"I just heard this really loud explosion. I actually felt the house shake a little," said Carlos Canales, who lives just a few houses down.

Canales said he ran outside and shot video of the fire with his iPad.

"I see two guys from the house running out," Canales said. "They appeared to be construction workers or gas company workers, I'm not sure. And one guy's arm was was burned from the side and his jean jacket that he had on was ripped, and I asked him if he was okay. He seemed dazed and stunned from the explosion because he was the one working on it."

The workers were taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge with moderate burn injuries. According to the Red Cross, three adults and two children living at the home were displaced and were provided with a hotel room for the night.

Meanwhile neighbors face another issue.

"We anticipate that the gas will be off for several hours until they can actually secure the line," said Beals.

Texas Community Propane confirmed that means cutting off gas service to the entire neighborhood and said crews will be working through the night to get the gas back on.

The company could not say specifically how many homes were affected, nor offer a more precise estimate of how long they could be without gas.

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