NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (CBSDFW.COM) – Atmos Energy continues its investigation into what caused an explosion at a North Richland Hills home, which severely injured an eight-year-old girl.
Maya Javier remains in ICU at Parkland Hospital, where she is being treated for burns over more than 40 percent of her body, including her hair, face and back. The eight-year-old’s uncle, Marvin Reinosheck, says Maya simply turned on the light in the bathroom Saturday afternoon, triggering the explosion.
“As she went into the restroom, she opened the door, turned on the light and boom. It blew up, knocked the walls out of the house,” Reinoshek recalls.
The little girl was literally on fire after the explosion, but Reinoshek says she is expected to survive.
Atmos Energy crews have remained on the scene since the explosion, according to a statement released by the company Sunday afternoon. Atmos has not identified a cause for the explosion and a spokesperson says the company is working with North Richland Hills Fire Department to determine the cause of the incident.
“We are in the final stages of performing safety tests on our pipeline and we hope to restore natural gas to the area by this evening,”said Jennifer Ryan, Atmos Energy Spokesperson. Atmos shut off gas to the neighboring homes and the NRH Fire Department evacuated the homes on either side of the explosion last night.
Reinoshek was allowed to return to his home early this morning and shared several pictures detailing the damage inside and outside the home. The pictures show doors blown off the hinges, shattered windows, missing ceilings, with sheetrock, insulation and other debris littering the floors. Bricks and the window frame outside the bathroom have been blown off home. Reinoshek says he was able to save some clothes and Christmas gifts from the damage and is receiving help from his neighbors. His family – including his wife, two sons and a daughter – are staying at an apartment across the street from their home.
Reinoshek says he has been told there was at least one gas leak in the home.
“We hadn’t smelled anything. We noticed a couple days ago there was a funky odor in the front bathroom but I thought it was sewage problems,” Reinoshek said.
Atmos warns that customers should not turn on any lights, open electronic garages or even use a cell phone if they smell natural gas and should leave their homes immediately if they smell natural gas.
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