DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Atmos Energy and Dallas Fire-Rescue have lifted evacuations around the area of a deadly house explosion that occurred Friday. The area was evacuated as crews were investigating a gas line.
The evacuation order was within six blocks of a house explosion in the 3500 block of Espanola Drive in Northwest Dallas.
On Friday, the house explosion took the life of 12-year-old Linda Rogers. Neighbors in the area suspected natural gas problems were to blame for the explosion.
Dallas Fire-Rescue later said it was a gas explosion, and they believe the gas issues are linked to two other house fires that occurred in the area in just the last two days.
Residents are hesitant to return to their homes following the news of the explosion and other fires.
“It’s kind of scary… knowing that we could be the next house that can explode,” said resident Fernando Lorenzano.
Many residents are choosing not to stay in their homes — even ones who didn’t have a place to stay Friday evening after the evacuation.
“We couldn’t find a hotel. No hotels had any room at that time. When we got here, was around 12 a.m., we couldn’t find a hotel room so we had to sleep in the car,” said resident Rosa Hernandez.
Atmos Energy insisted it has conducted exhaustive tests for gas leaks and that the neighborhood is safe. Crews have disconnected natural gas in the area as they work to replace 2.5 miles of pipe.
“Residents living in those areas are welcome to return to their homes, however, you will not be able to use your gas appliances until we can safely restore service,” said Jennifer Altieri, Atmos Energy spokesperson. “Customers may choose to stay in their homes or Atmos Energy will continue to provide overnight lodging as well as assistance to residents affected by this work.”
Crews are expected to finish the work over the next several days, and Atmos Energy will restore natural gas services as the new pipe installation is complete.
An Atmos Energy spokesperson says they will update displaced residents at a command center at 9655 Webb Chapel Road, at the number 972.964.4191 and their website.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it is sending three investigators to look into the explosion, and they are set to arrive Sunday morning.