Gas leak suspected in Gilbert explosion - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Gas leak suspected in Gilbert explosion

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 1:28 pm

Authorities are investigating whether a possible leak in a natural gas pipe in a Gilbert neighborhood caused an explosion that burned a man in his garage over the weekend.

Fire Department spokesman Brian Ruffentine says the blast occurred when the man lit a cigarette. He's hospitalized with serious burns on his chest, legs, arms, hands and face.

The explosion caused little structural damage to the home, but blew out the garage door.

About 24 homes in the immediate vicinity remain evacuated. Eight families were placed in hotels while the other families found their own accommodations.

Officials were continue to monitor gas readings Monday morning. ABC15 has learned that 6-8 homes in the area were receiving "0" readings related to the gas leak. Residents of those homes have been allowed to return home.

A southwest gas rep and a firefighter escorted each homeowner back home and did a gas reading in front of them to prove there is no gas.

According to Ruffentine, the home where the explosion occurred doesn't receive natural gas service, but said that a gas pipe travels through the area.

Southwest Gas spokeswoman Amy Washburn says they've capped the leak. Washburn says no more gas has been detected in the area and said community is safe.

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