Calhoun, GA – A Calhoun family was spared despite losing their home Thursday afternoon in an explosion that spread debris over a quarter mile, and damaged several nearby homes.
Authorities are investigating, but believe the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak.
There is little left of the three story house on Saddlebrook Drive except a crater and sticks.
The explosion happened at about 3:30 while the family of three was away.
“She’s usually home, but had to work late,” Pastor Phil White said of the mother. “And the daughter is usually home, but she had a doctor’s appointment.”
White declined to identify the family at their request.
Jeff Goldberg felt the explosion at his home on the next street. The windows shattered at his home, and his garage door was bent.
“It felt a lot more powerful than a grenade,” said Goldberg. “I thought something had run into my house. It was pretty shocking.”
Across the street from the house that was leveled, Thomas Broydon’s home received heavy damage. He was not there at the time.
“It’s totaled,” said Broydon of his house. “I guess they’ll have to rip it down and cart it away.”
In addition to the home that was leveled, authorities say a total of 19 homes in the area received moderate to heavy damage. Seven people were injured, but none seriously. Most of the injuries were cuts and bruises from flying glass and debris.
“There were windows busted out a quarter mile away,” said Calhoun Deputy Fire Chief Terry Mills. “We got reports from people a mile to two miles away that felt the explosion.”
The windows were blown out at Ed Reid’s home. He says the roof also shifted. He lives just only about 100-yards from the home that was destroyed. Reid says he wasn’t home because his 11-year-old grandson talked him into going to Chattanooga.
“We feel very fortunate,” said Reid. “We said a thank-you to God.”
Pastor Phil White said the family was on their way home when the dwelling exploded. He has started a fund to help them recoup what they’ve lost.
He says donations can go to the Calhoun 7th Day Adventist Church, where the family are members.