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Man hurt in area gas explosion dies

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

LEWISVILLE — A man injured in a natural gas explosion Friday in an Old Town Lewisville duplex died Sunday.

Scott Deahl, 55, was taken off life support at 6:20 p.m. at Medical Center of Plano.

Deahl is survived by a 12-year-old daughter and two sisters, said Ron Batts, president and CEO of Christian Community Action (CCA), which owned the duplex where Deahl was living.

“On behalf of Scott’s family here at CCA, we are deeply saddened to report that a much-loved member our family died last night,” Batts said during a news conference held by CCA Monday morning.

Deahl was inside a duplex in the 500 block of Main Street when the explosion occurred at about 12:30 p.m. Friday. Earlier the same day, construction crews were digging to place a utility pole when an auger struck a 4-inch gas line, according to officials.

Atmos Gas was notified to close the line and Lewisville firefighters were called to the scene at 10 a.m.

Officials on the scene reported they went door to door to evacuate anyone upwind from the leak. The explosion, about 50 feet from the line, sent debris flying from the duplex owned by CCA.

“We did everything we could as quickly as we knew of this, of the explosion, which we knew of it after the explosion occurred,” Batts said. “We went rushing down the street to do whatever aid we could. We were stopped just shy of Henrietta Street — myself and other staff members — and not allowed to go any farther because it was a dangerous situation.”

In response to a question from media about what efforts were taken to get Deahl out of the house, Batts said, “That’s a puzzle we’re leaving up to the authorities to solve.”

Atmos Energy released a statement Monday, offering its condolences to those involved.

The repairs have been made and natural gas service to the area has been restored, according to the statement.

Atmos Energy said the explosion is still under investigation.

Batts said during the news conference that the Deahl family asked that he act as their spokesman. He read a statement on behalf of the family as well as something Deahl had written in May 2012.

He shared Deahl’s story about being put on Social Security disability in 2004 for mental and back problems and losing his family to drugs and alcohol.

Batts said Deahl had to sell his house because he could not pay his bills and was going to live in his car,

until he received assistance from CCA.

Batts shared that Deahl had tried to take his life in February 2012 but the blood kept stopping and he called an ambulance.

“This is part of my story,” Batts read from a statement Deahl wrote in May. “Now I’m trying to walk the path with God by doing some volunteer work with CCA, hoping to find my way in life.”

Batts said Deahl’s family had been praying for more than 20 years that Deahl would believe in Jesus.

“As Scott walked with Jesus, he was able to share the love of Christ that had changed his own life with many of the people he interacted with each day,” Batts said on behalf of the family.

The family is grateful for the help Deahl received at CCA, he said.

“As sad as we are to have lost Scott so suddenly in this way, these are the things we want people to know and remember about him,” Batts said on behalf of the family. “We rejoice in the fact that he is now with the Lord. This gives us great peace and carries us through this time.”

Batts said he met with the residents of the other duplexes on Sunday and promised not to allow them back in until the buildings were safe.

Batts said people from six residences in the area were staying at a local hotel.

“We will not put them down there until we are satisfied that every residence is absolutely safe,” he said.

For their privacy, Batts did not disclose where the other residents were staying.

“Several of them were outdoors and saw everything live in front of them and they are pretty shaken,” he said.

CCA, which offers food, shelter, education and training to those in need, is offering counseling for those involved, Batts said.

Jean Rich, 75, who lived across the street from Deahl, was at the news conference and shared her concern for her dog on the day of the explosion.

She was at the doctor because of a recent cancer diagnosis, she said, and she received a call from her pastor about the explosion.

Her dog, Spunky, did survive the explosion.

“CCA could not have done more,” she said, adding that if the agency could have done more, it would have.

She had nothing but praise for the organization.

“I would have been living in my truck if not for CCA,” she said.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .