DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Emergency crews responded to a house explosion in Dallas early Friday morning that claimed the life of an 12-year-old girl. It happened shortly before 7:00 a.m. in the 3500 block of Espanola Drive, just north of Dallas Love Field and Bachman Lake.
“I was sleeping when I heard like a big bomb,” said Elisa Martinez, who lives next door to the home.
“My house shook when the explosion went off,” added neighbor David McCoy. “I thought it was an earthquake.”
One child, later identified as 12-year-old Linda Rogers, died in the incident. Four other people are also being treated. The extent of those injuries are not known. Officials do not believe that anyone else was inside of the home. “I’m so sad, because I’m a mother,” Ms. Martinez said. “I couldn’t imagine if that happened to my son.”
According to neighbors, there have been two other fires or explosions in this area over the past two days. This is the third such incident. “I live on next block, and I just heard this morning a big old explosion,” said Daniel Martinez. “I just came over here and I see the house.”
Mr. Martinez said that his sister’s house, also in this neighborhood, was burned on Thursday.
Some neighbors suspect that natural gas problems are to blame. “There’s a huge gas leak that’s been going on for days,” stated McCoy, ” and Atmos Energy can’t seem to fix it.” McCoy said that he was scheduled to receive a new gas meter on Monday, but Atmos workers never arrived. He has since turned his gas off.
Dallas Fire-Rescue issued a mandatory evacuation for homes along Espanola Drive and Durango Drive while Atmos looks over a gas line that runs between the two streets.
Officials then expanded the evacuation order to six blocks, which included Stephen C. Foster Elementary School.
Other residents in the neighborhood have been strongly encouraged to leave as well. DART buses arrived at the scene to assist with the evacuations.
Fire officials are now working with Atmos Energy to determine what is going on in this area, and to ensure that residents are able to safely return to their homes. “We don’t know how much time before it’s fully addressed,” said Jason Evans with Dallas Fire-Rescue. “Right now, there is no timeline.”
“I’m worried for the whole neighborhood,” McCoy said, “because that whole neighborhood is blowing up.”
Atmos Energy President and CEO Mike Haefner released a statement Friday afternoon on the deadly house explosion:
“We are deeply saddened by the death of the young girl at 3534 Espanola Drive this morning. We express our sincere heartfelt condolences to her family. The safety of the residents and first responders is our highest concern. We are working in close partnership with Dallas Fire Rescue as the cause of today’s incident is thoroughly investigated. As soon as we have more information, we will provide a detailed assessment of the situation and an estimate of when customers’ service will be restored.”