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Woman Killed In Texas Gas Explosion Had No Sense Of Smell

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GRANDVIEW (CBS 11 NEWS) – Authorities continue their investigation into a deadly house explosion that killed a 62-year-old North Texas woman.

Investigators have revealed that a propane leak caused the explosion and that the gas was most likely ignited by a basement water heater. However, what caused the propane leak remains unknown.

The Texas Railroad Commission, who regulates propane licensing, arrived at the explosion site to check lines and determine if there were any non-compliance issues regarding the commission’s rules and regulations that may have contributed to the accident.

It was around 10:58 p.m. on Saturday when Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and several surrounding counties became inundated with phone calls after an explosion was felt and heard.

Firefighters arriving at the scene said there was the smell of smoke, but the 4,000 square-foot home was gone. Debris was spread across several hundred feet.

The residents couldn’t be reached for several hours. In the light of day, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, ATF and FBI began an investigation and search for the residents.

After going-over the explosion area for several hours, the body of Wanda Davis was finally found in the debris. Her husband, Gary Wagoner, was out of town on business at the time of the blast and was reached later.

Investigators don’t suspect foul play.

Authorities say leaks can happen at any time. Most leaks are usually detected because the liquid’s distinct smell. An odorant is added to propane to make the gas detectable in the event of a leak. Some leaks may also be detected by the sound of gas escaping from a valve, pipe or equipment.

The one thing that might have saved Wanda Davis is the one thing she didn’t have. “We have found out that Ms. Davis had nose — she couldn’t smell,” explained Sheriff Bob Alford. “So that was a major issue, but you ought to be able to smell it.”

Jonson County authorities are urging residents to get propane detectors. The devices work similar to those that can detect smoke and carbon monoxide.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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