Houston family hopes to rebuild after explosion destroys home of 51 years

HOUSTON – CenterPoint Energy crews spent much of Monday trying to figure out the source of Sunday morning’s explosion in southeast Houston.

The initial blast knocked the Doulton Drive home off its foundation Sunday morning. The secondary one sparked a fire, which demolished the place Delover Burns and his wife, Jewell, have called home for 51 years. Burns and his wife raised their six children and grandchildren in the home.

The couple returned to the property Monday in disbelief.

“I’m 81 years old and I’m out on the street looking for somewhere to stay,” Burns said.

Burns said he and his wife woke up to a strong smell of gas Sunday morning.

“I said honey that kitchen sure looks foggy looking and I said I smell gas,” Burns said. “Call the gas company 10 minutes to 9 a.m.”

Burns said CenterPoint Energy did not arrive until noon, after the explosion. Burns was sitting in his driveway inside his car. His wife was next door getting fresh air at the neighbors.

“One mind kept telling me to get out and move my car but if I would have cranked that car up, the vent by the gas meter, it probably would have blown me up with it,” Burns said.

The explosion also damaged three homes. Burns said he did not have insurance because he was required to put a new roof on the home first. He believes that had the energy company arrived sooner he would still have a home.

“If you late paying your bill they cut your gas off,” he said. “We ain’t never been late. But they didn’t get here until after the house blown up.”

CenterPoint said when their crews arrived shortly after the explosion their crews squeezed off the natural gas supply to the home. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.