4 people injured in massive gas explosion in northeast Houston

HOUSTON – A family of four suffered extensive burns in a fire that witnesses described as an explosion Wednesday in northeast Houston.

Houston Fire officials said it appears a gas leak may have sparked the fire at the home, located on the 7400 block of Glen Manor Drive.

"[A gas leak is] very likely but we're not gonna confirm that until our arson unit does a thorough investigation," said Senior Capt. Ruy Lozano, Houston Fire Department spokesman.

Officials said a 76-year-old woman, her 46-year-old daughter, and the daughter's two adult children ran out of the house with burns coveting their bodies.

"They had skin hanging off their body and everything," said Rachael Hayward, a neighbor.

Hayward says she tried to help as best she could as the 76-year-old, to whom she referred as Ms. Annie, screamed for help.

"They were coming out and she was asking me, hollering for them to come out," she said.

The call to 911 came in around 6:30 Wednesday morning. Glen Tolden, who lives next door, said a ball of fire rushed into the air, following an explosion. 

"Fire was all up here in the trees, consumed the whole wall. Matter of fact, the heat was on top of me. So, I couldn't come any further," Tolden said.

A relative of the family could be seen speaking with a fire investigator. CenterPoint Energy sent over a dozen crew members to the scene. A representative said they were checking the gas line, which he described as "routine."

Firefighters said a cat died in the fire.

Arson investigators are looking into a cause.

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