Woman, cat rescued after lighting of cigarette causes garage to explode

By Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor , Courtney Gilmore - Anchor/Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY - A homeowner was injured Monday morning when the garage of his northwest Harris County house exploded, according to the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

The explosion happened in the 15100 block of Stonewick near Gladeridge Drive in Spring.

According to authorities, the homeowner went outside to smoke a cigarette around 6:49 a.m., and once he lit his lighter, the garage blew up.

The explosion blew the door off the garage and flames started to creep up the side of the house. The man rushed upstairs to get his wife, who was sleeping, then went back outside to try and remove his car from the driveway. He also went back inside the burning home to try and rescue his cat.

"The wife was still asleep when the fire and explosion happened, so he actually went in, woke her up and got her out. There may have been some attempts to try and locate the cat and also I believe he tried to move the vehicle," said Lt. Dean Hensley, Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

Despite the intense heat and thick smoke, the homeowner managed to pull his wife out.

Klein firefighters pulled the cat from the home and revived it with oxygen.

The garage was completely leveled and the home was partially burned. Flames also damaged a neighboring home; burning the grass, the fence line and the trees.

The homeowner was rushed to the hospital. His wife was not badly hurt. The cat was then taken to a local veterinarian for treatment.

Police say the couple has been living in the community for 15 years.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the initial observation appears the explosion may have been caused by a leak of a propane or oxygen from tanks in the garage when the homeowner lit the cigarette, fire officials said.

CenterPoint crews were expected to work throughout the day to restore power and fix the lines.

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