Westminster Fire confirms natural gas explosion cause was leak inside home

Investigators working to determine source of leak

WESTMINSTER, Colo. - Westminster Fire Department confirmed the explosion Thursday that flattened one home and damaged several others was due to a natural gas leak. It happened in the 9300 block of Ignalls Street around 11:30 a.m. The fire department and Xcel Energy did individual investigations to confirm the cause.

Xcel spokesperson Gabriel Romero told 7NEWS "the line leading into the house was not compromised."

Investigators must process the rubble to determine where the leak was inside the home. Spokesperson for Westminster Fire Department Diana Allen said they will go through the home and interview the homeowners to see if they moved something recently they may have caused the leak. Allen said it may be due to a hose open in the home, for example a dryer hose or a leaky appliance.

Friday, contractors were seen assessing the damage to homes on the street of the explosion. The family who lives next to the explosion are not allowed in, due to structural damage.

Mark McCulley lives on the back side of the explosion. He spent Friday cleaning up glass and debris that fell on his roof and yard.

"All of the sudden there was this big huge boom, then a shockwave and then I started hearing bangs," McCulley said. "I first thought one of these big airplanes flying over for the water drops has lost a part and has landed, and it's landed on top of our house."

McCulley's neighbor also sustained damage to his house. Mike Essex said the drywall cracked inside his home and everything on the wall was knocked off. Essex wasn't home at the time but said neighbors told him they could smell the gas before the explosion.

"I've heard from neighbors and stuff down there yesterday that they've come out here to investigate some gas smells," Essex said.

7NEWS confirmed with Xcel Energy a neighbor made a call about the smell prior to the explosion. Xcel was responding to that call when the house blew up. Xcel had a team in the area in April performing a five-year gas line assessment to test the integrity of the pipes, per protocol.

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