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ELLIS COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) –UPDATE: The evacuations in the Saddlebrook Estates neighborhood will remain in effect through the night and the investigation into the cause will resume Tuesday morning according to Atmos Energy.
Atmos says it’s working with the residents who have been directly affected by the incident and thanks them for their patience as crews work to make the area safe.
Waxahachie neighbors who live on Arabian Road were forced to evacuate while Atmos Energy worked to determine what caused a home to explode Monday morning. The explosion, that injured at least four people, leveled one home and damaged several others.
Amber Rodriguez lives on Arabian Road. She was walking her dog and had just passed in front of number 113, when it burst into pieces. She said, “It scared me. I heard loud explosions, two maybe three explosions.”
Rodriguez and her husband, Rene, are staying in a hotel tonight. The Red Cross is assisting two other families with shelter and immediate needs.
Ten homes in the area were originally evacuated, but the fire department expanded that area because the cause is still under investigation. “They’re going to double check to make sure there’s no hazard and they’ll let us know,” explained Rene.
The Saddlebrook Estates community is divided into several phases. Even blocks away from Arabian Road, neighbors say they could feel and hear the explosion.
Ismael Alfaro was experiencing a lot of emotions. “It’s totally concerning. It’s scary. All these families here have kids. We’re all concerned for their safety.” Alfaro and his family live in a newer addition to the subdivision, where construction on new homes is underway.
Flags dot the ground, marking Atmos Energy gas lines beneath the surface.
“Hopefully this is just a one-off accident. A lot of construction has been going on, a lot of the neighbors are just concerned and on edge because of that,” said Alfaro.
Another neighbor said someone reported the smell of gas in the air on Friday. Alfaro says he saw an Atmos Energy crew in the neighborhood on Saturday. “It was unusual, middle of the night; after midnight, until two or three in the morning. AT&T is running new fiber lines and Atmos is marking those lines for them. You don’t know if there’s any kind of correlation over there. You hope not.”
Officials with Atmos Energy say the cause is still under investigation. A spokesperson for the gas company said they may have more information Monday night as to when residents can safely return home.
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