A gas leak is suspected as the cause of a house explosion in Dallas that injured a woman and her five children early Tuesday morning.
Dallas Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Jason Evans said firefighters responded to a call at a single-story home on the 1600 block of Champagne Drive in Oak Cliff at 6:05 a.m. When they arrived the home was engulfed in flames.
Neighbors reported smelling gas in the hours before the explosion and said they rushed outside after hearing a loud boom to find the home on fire.
"We woke up to a loud explosion. We thought a car hit a pole. When we came out, we saw the house engulfed," said neighbor Howard Jenkins.
DFR officials said a woman and her five children were inside the house when the fire started. Jenkins told NBC 5 that all six climbed out the front window and that one of the boys pulled his sister out of the house just before he heard a second explosion.
"His oldest son managed to get his sister out of the front window. Everybody got out that window," Jenkins said. "When they made it across the street, the house exploded. It was a matter of seconds. If they hadn't gotten out of there when they did we wouldn't have just had legs burned."
They all made it out of the house but had to hospitalized to be treated for burns. The woman, with burns on much of her body, is in critical condition.
An 11-year-old boy has burns and underwent surgery Tuesday. He will be in surgery again Wednesday. A 17-year-old boy has burns and is in critical condition. An 18-year-old male has burns to his legs. An 8-year-old girl has burns on her hands, and a 3-year-old girl only has scratches.
The residence was destroyed with only the charred frame of the structure remains upright. By mid-morning, crews began razing what remained of the home.
No firefighters were injured, according to Evans.
Atmos Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Altieri said utility workers found no indication of a gas leak in its system that would have contributed to the explosion. However, she noted that Atmos investigates only its lines, which run to the house's meter, and that lines from the meter into the home are a homeowner's responsibility. It would be up to fire officials to examine those lines, she said.
Fire officials continue to look for the source of the explosion and hope to be able to talk to the mother who was inside.
"We are anxious to talk to her about what she knows and see what she understands about the situation," said Lt. Joel Lavender, with Dallas Fire and Rescue.
Meanwhile, neighbors really want to help the family.
"I pray that everyone will heal, and as neighbors we are going to do everything we can to support them," said neighbor Mary Walton.
NBC 5's Ellen Bryan, Julie Fine and Johnny Archer contributed to this report.