Two people are dead and two others are injured after a natural gas explosion Monday afternoon in Collin County, officials say.
The explosion happened at about 3:35 p.m. in the 14000 block of Farm-to-Market 2756, just north of Farmersville, Collin County Sheriff's Office Assistant Chief Nick Bristow said.
Bristow said Atmos Energy subcontractors, employees of Bobcat Contracting and Fesco Petroleum Engineering, were doing pipeline maintenance when the explosion took place.
Two people were confirmed to have died at the scene and have been identified as 22-year-old Ethan Knight of Mesquite, Texas and 35-year-old Deric Tarver of El Campo, Texas.
Two other people were taken to area hospitals, Bristow said.
“Honestly, I’m praying for their families and peace right now, because that was just out of nowhere, and for me, I’m just very thankful that it didn’t explode my whole neighborhood because that’s always been one of my fears," said Skylah Spradlin, whose home backs up to the property where the explosion happened.
She said was in her front yard at the time and heard the explosion.
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"It lasted as long as a gunshot wound, but it was really close. It was like a really loud 'boom' like an explosion, but I honestly didn't expect it to be that. No screams, nothing, no smell, nothing," Spradlin said.
She was told to leave her home just in case, but came back after about 45 minutes.
"It really caught me by surprise, I was so shook, and I'm still kind of nerve wrecked right now to know that two people died out there, that's really sad," she said.
“I was in my living room watching TV just relaxing I heard an explosion and I felt the shock wave also and it was simultaneous," said Stephen Coplen, whose property is also close by.
The explosion appeared to be an accident, Bristow said, but Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner asked the FBI to assist in processing the area because of their expertise handling post-blast scenes.
Atmos Energy issued the following statement Monday night.
"Our prayers are with those who were affected by the events in Farmersville, Texas today. Out of respect for their privacy, we are not releasing any names or additional details at this stage.
"Our highly trained technicians continue to work with the fire departments and emergency first responders to monitor the situation and make sure the area is safe. Our number one priority continues to be the safety of the public, our employees, our contractors, and our natural gas distribution system."
Officials said the scene was secure by 5:30 p.m. Monday, but asked people to avoid the area.
The Wylie Fire Department, Collin County Sheriff's Office, Farmersville Police Department, Collin County Fire Marshall, Texas Department of Public Safety and the FBI all responded to the incident.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has "an open and ongoing investigation into this incident," U.S. Department of Labor spokesman Juan Rodríguez told NBC 5, adding that no other information will be available until the investigation is completed.