DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Federal investigators have joined those on the ground in Northwest Dallas, looking for answers after a series of house fires last week culminated with a house explosion that killed Linda Rogers, 12.
“Worried is not the word,” says community activist Carlos Quintanilla, “they are petrified… they fear they can be sleeping and an explosion can happen.”
Quintanilla says he is working to bring together representatives from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), Atmos Energy, City of Dallas and DISD to address concerns in the neighborhood. Many accuse Atmos of indifference, saying they had plenty of warning signs that something was wrong.
“[We] heard a loud noise in the attic,” says Jonathan Gonzalez, “it was like ‘boom’ like it was a bomb.”
Gonzalez says his father suffered second degree burns to his face when their home exploded on Wednesday– two days before Rogers was killed. He says their problems started with issues with the oven and heater.
“This neighbor got scared because the next day their heater stopped working, and instead of messing with it they just moved out,” says Gonzalez.
Now, street after street in the neighborhood near Love Field is filled with heavy equipment as major excavation work continues to replace aging natural gas pipelines.
“They should have been proactive, aggressive,” says Quintanilla, his voice rising in frustration. “This is a poor community, poor homes. They don’t have a voice. They have been treated indifferently and that is shameful, disgusting and unacceptable.”
A late afternoon update from Atmos Energy said that service had been restored to some homes in the 3600 block of Gaspar (even-numbered) and the 3600 block of Fontana streets (odd-numbered); but, that the process would continue throughout the week.
There’s no word yet on when tenants will be allowed to return to the Chapel Creek Apartments, as the area is still evacuated.
Even in those that have been deemed safe, there is still concern.
“Oh, I’m scared because I don’t know what happened… what’s going to happen,” says
Avimael Hernandez, while agreeing that the explosion could have easily have happened at his house. “Exactly.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)