Gas Explosion Burns Man, Levels Home

By Julie Tam
|  Sunday, Aug 15, 2010  |  Updated 4:18 PM CDT
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Gas Explosion Burns Man, Levels Home

NBCDFW.com

Fire investigators say a natural gas leak likely sparked the explosion and fire.

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A house explosion Sunday morning critically injured a Fort Worth man and leveled his home.

The gas explosion happened at about 9:30 a.m. on Chenault Street near Highway 121. It was heard and felt from all sides of the one-story house, where Al Long lived alone.

Firefighters said he had burns on half of his body and other injuries. Fire investigators said Long was in the kitchen, but it appears the flames were mostly in the attic. A quick-thinking Good Samaritan pulled him from the rubble.

Atmos Energy focused its attention underground and turned off natural gas to the home. Firefighters said a gas leak could be the culprit.

"That would be one of the primary causes of an explosion of this kind," Capt. Tom Crow said. "This type of explosion just reminds us of the dangers of natural gas and just how important it is for the couplings and the connections to be regularly checked."

Rafael Alvarez said he was visiting his brother across the street and ran into the burning house to rescue the man inside. He said he's "not a hero," but some would say he saved a man's life.

"I was talking on the phone outside the house, and I just saw the explosion of the house," he said. "I just took the guy away from the house, grabbed him, put him on my shoulders."

"I looked out the window, and I saw a whole bunch of people running over here," neighbor Mireya Avila said. "I'm just sad because he was really close to us."

The explosion was so powerful, it threw a window clear across to the other side of the street. Glass was strewn everywhere.

An air ambulance took Long to Parkland Hospital, where he is in critical condition.

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