LEWISVILLE — A gas line explosion on East Main Street demolished a duplex and left three hospitalized Friday afternoon.
Lewisville Assistant Fire Chief Brian Freed said a gas leak Friday morning reported by construction crews prompted Atmos Energy employees to start working on the line.
“At 12:34 p.m. — about two and a half hours after the initial report — the house adjacent from the line exploded,” Freed said Friday afternoon.
“The explosion is believed to have occurred inside the home, leaving behind substantial damage.”
“There was no warning, just an immediate explosion,” he said.
One man was reported inside the duplex at 520 E. Main St. at the time of the explosion, the chief added. The man was taken to Medical Center of Lewisville, where he remains in the intensive care unit after successful surgery, Freed said.
The man, whose age and identity had not been released late Friday, was a resident in one side of the duplex and is reported to have sustained severe internal injuries.
“Neighbors report there [was] one person living on each side and the other person, a woman, was not at home at the time the explosion occurred,” Freed said.
Two 20- to 25-year veterans with the Lewisville Fire Department were also hospitalized at Medical Center of Lewisville.
One suffered lacerations on his arm and has since been released, Freed said. The other is still hospitalized after suffering from cardiac injuries.
Jennifer Ryan, Atmos Energy public information officer, said the investigation is ongoing.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected at this time,” Ryan said.
As crews worked to turn off the 4-inch gas line, precautions were made to evacuate everyone downwind, said Ryan and Freed during a news conference.
“We believe that by doing this, many were saved from possible injury,” Freed said.
Ron Batts, president of Christian Community Action Center, said the destroyed duplex and several others surrounding it belong to the center and are used as temporary housing for low-income individuals.
“My initial thought wasn’t anything to do with the housing, it had to do with the people inside,” Batts said. “Our prayers are with the families now, and we are already taking the proper, necessary measures to make sure there is a place to stay for anyone who was displaced resulting from all this.”
Vladimir Golets, who lives about two blocks away, heard the explosion and thought it was his cat crashing into something before realizing the sound led to things much worse.
“I was on the phone with a friend and had to get off immediately. I knew something major had just happened and I didn’t know what,” Golets said. “As soon as I found out it wasn’t my cat or two dogs, I was thinking it was someone crashing into the townhome. It was then I went outside and saw plumes of smoke and neighbors running down the street.”
Many area agencies, including those from Flower Mound, Highland Village, Carrollton and The Colony, were on scene to assist as needed.
Officials had the gas turned off by 4 p.m. Friday afternoon and were preparing to go through the debris to make sure no one was left behind.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.