An explosion destroyed a house in Tarrant County, damaged several others, and sent a neighbor and a firefighter to the hospital on Thursday morning.
“It shook everything around us, and I flipped around, and all I saw was one of our neighbors running into the house,” neighbor Codi Tanksley explained. “They were dragging somebody out of the house.”
Tanksley continued, “A lot of windows busted out. I think the foundation is shifted off of my house. It’s just unbelievable. Everybody is shaken up by this whole incident.”
The explosion happened at 7:30 a.m. on December 1 in Fort Worth near Burton Hill and White Settlement Roads, in the 5600 block of Watters Place in Westworth Village.
MedStar, which serves most of Tarrant County, confirmed treating a person in critical condition at the scene. The patient was flown to Parkland Hospital in Dallas with severe injuries.
One other person and a firefighter were also injured at the scene, but their injuries were reportedly not life-threatening.
White Settlement Police Chief Christopher Cook, whose department assisted at the scene, tweeted pictures, including one of a house that looked like it had been destroyed. Wood, shingles, and other trash were all over the property and street.
Cook said some homes near the explosion were evacuated as a precaution.
Fort Worth Fire Battalion Chief James McAmis said the alarm for the explosion was initially dispatched at 7:33 in the morning. When the crews arrived, they discovered that the blast had destroyed the house and that there was one male victim.
Atmos Energy officials said crews were in the area testing other houses for gas leaks or meters that may have been compromised. Around the middle of the afternoon on Thursday, Atmos Energy technicians reported that their natural gas systems were operating normally.
The gas company said they would assist arson investigators and ATF agents in investigating the fire’s cause. After experiencing the explosion, which could be felt two miles away, the neighbors have expressed an interest in learning this information.
Investigation of what caused the explosion is still ongoing. Fort Worth Fire Battalion Chief James McAmis stated that representatives from the natural gas company Atmos were currently on the scene “assessing the situation.”
Kelly Jones, Mayor of Westworth, said many buildings in the area, including the city hall, sustained some damage.
“Thus far, five houses on Watters have been deemed uninhabitable by our building inspections team,” Jones said in a statement. “The Red Cross is currently assisting these displaced families.”
Jones reported that cleanup of the area had begun, and other residents were safe to return home.
“This is yet another reminder that we tend to take our emergency service providers for granted … until we need them,” the mayor said. “We can rest assured that all our emergency responders acted immediately, professionally, responsibly, and at a level for which we are extremely thankful.”
He added, “It’s times like these when we can all truly appreciate what a wonderful city we all enjoy.”
Jones thanked the Westworth Village fire and police departments, the city administrator, all city employees, Atmos, and the Oncor power company for their quick actions following the blast.