Gas leak causes fire, explosion at east Houston home

HOUSTON – Houston firefighters said they believe a natural gas leak is to blame for an explosion and fire Friday at a home in east Houston.

Authorities said the fire has been tapped out and the scene is under control. The cause of the natural gas leak is being investigated. The incident was reported about 9:30 a.m. at a home near Bryan and Canal streets.

Video from Sky 2 showed significant damage to the home.

"The roof was split in half, the roof fell on both sides of the structure, the walls seemed to be blown outward. From preliminary findings, it looks like the explosion was from within the house," said HFD Chief Sam Pena.

PHOTOS: Sky 2 over home that exploded in east Houston

Officials said no one was home when the explosion happened and no one was seriously injured. Marvin Sanchez lives two doors down and called 911.

"It sounds like a big old thunder -- like a 'boom!' We came out -- and we see the house," Sanchez said.

Officials said a neighbor who knew the couple decided to go inside the home with a friend to potentially save anyone inside. That neighbor was Victor Maldonado.

"First thing in my mind was [that] somebody's in there, so I'm going to try to save them," Maldonado said.

His neighbor and friend Joshua Rials went with him inside the collapsed home. They saw the roof of that home flying in the air.

"It came higher than all these buildings, and my room's up on the top floor, so it lifted up a good 10 feet over the buildings and then I saw it come crashing down," Rials said.

They said the walls were collapsing in while they were inside.

"We checked all the rooms -- we yelled in all the rooms, 'Hey, is anybody in here?" Rials said. "I would want someone to jump in, in a hurry, in an instant that it happened for my grandmother, so yeah, I would do it for somebody else."

Pena stressed that anyone who smells a unique odor in their home to take action to get it checked out. Pena said natural gas can be harmful to one's health and can also ignite, causing a fire and explosion.

"Natural gas on its own does not have a smell like anything, but they add an odorant, and it's a very distinct smell of rotten egg. If you smell that, leave the space, leave the home and call 911," Pena said.

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