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Natural gas leak to blame for Pleasant Grove explosion

Posted - Feb. 26, 2010 at 4:12 p.m.


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PLEASANT GROVE -- Fire officials say a natural gas leak near a furnace is responsible for the explosion that destroyed a Pleasant Grove house, broke neighbors' windows and prompted the evacuation of several nearby homes.

Investigators spent the morning digging through the rubble and eventually found the furnace in the crawl space. As near as they can tell, that is where the blast originated, likely from a buildup of natural gas.

"We're pretty sure," said Pleasant Grove Fire Marshal Steven Brande. "We're not absolutely positive, we couldn't find the exact leak, where it came from. But all indications are that it came from that furnace area."

No one was in the house, and no injuries have been reported. Brande said late Thursday the house was vacant and no one was driving by at the time. A search and rescue team found no one in the rubble and no injuries have been reported. But the explosion, which could be heard and felt for miles, caused a lot of damage.

Witnesses reported the smell of natural gas after the blast a little before 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the home at 385 E. 100 South.

What was once a house is now just a pile of debris.
What was once a house is now just a pile of debris.

Some neighbors said the blast felt like a car hitting their house.

"The whole house shook," said Kevin Lindstrom. "Everything fell off the walls. I thought someone ran into my house with their car being on First East. (I) came outside and you could hear gas just pouring out everywhere."

The scene has stirred up quite a reaction from residents in the area. Many stopped by Friday morning to see the damage after feeling Thursday night's explosion. Neighbor Daryl Peterson, who lives about 60 yards from the house, said he had seven windows shattered.

"It was literally a foot behind me where one of the big windows blew in and got glass on me," he said. "I was just glad I wasn't at the window when it happened."

Overall, the explosion caused damages to at least five buildings. Costs are so far estimated to be thousands of dollars. It also blew debris about 100 yards from the house in each direction. There was even debris stuck about 100 feet in the air in a tree that sits on the north edge of the property.

The fact that there are no injuries is remarkable considering where the house is located and the fact there are businesses and homes that surround it. There is the Purple Turtle restaurant across the street that sits along 100 East, a popular street in Pleasant Grove.

The house was actually listed for sale, at a price of $170,000. The home was built in 1923 and was approaching 90 years old.

Damage to other property is in the thousands of dollars.

For now, the case is being ruled as an accident. Next, the job of clearing the debris begins.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sam Penrod and Shara Park.

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