LINDA MAN; The Kansas City Star

A natural gas explosion blew a Buckner family out of bed earlyMonday and flung debris as far as 200 feet.

Fire officials said the explosion occurred about 5:05 a.m. in the 100 block of North Central Street. A gas pipe in the house’s crawl

space had a hole and leaked gas. Officials said the gas water heater or stove were possible sources of ignition.

Officials were amazed that the three occupants escaped relatively unscathed.

Homeowner Gary Frye, 50, said he remembers little about the blast. He settled down for bed around midnight and woke up standing in water 5 to 10 feet from the remains of his house. He was dazed but managed to find his wife, Virginia, and son, Manny, before heading to the next-door neighbor’s house and then to the hospital.

After returning, Frye surveyed the damage. His head was wrapped in bandages, and he still wore a hospital identification wristband. The fire singed the hair off Frye’s arms and body. Officials said Frye and his wife suffered minor injuries, and 8-year-old Manny was listed in fair condition at Children’s Mercy Hospital. The house was leveled except for three interior walls.

Remnants of the house were strewn across the lot: a wooden chair, a plastic dish rack, a kitchen sink. Glass shards littered the street

and a board landed on a neighbor’s roof two lots away.