Oklahoma City, OK – Oklahoma Natural Gas workers had been called early Saturday to investigate the source of a gas leak in the Walnut Creek addition of northwest Oklahoma City when an explosion blew one man out of his bed.
A man was found about 3:15 a.m. outside a home at 12505 Whispering Hollow Drive. He suffered first- and second-degree burns on his face, head and chest and was taken to a hospital, said Oklahoma City fire District Chief Benny Fulkerson.
Two older people who lived next door suffered smoke inhalation.
The blast affected 50 homes and forced the evacuation of about 24 people, Fulkerson said.
Photo -Debris was scattered across a northwest Oklahoma City neighborhood near NW 122 and N Council Road early Saturday when a home exploded and sent three people to a hospital. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] Photo -A house explosion left debris in a neighborhood of northwest Oklahoma City early Saturday near NW 122 and N Council Road. Three people were taken to a hospital. [PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN] Photo -Photo of 12509 Whispering Hollow Drive following a house explosion in Oklahoma City Saturday. Photo by Robert Medley for The Oklahoman.
Cherokee Ballard, Oklahoma Natural Gas spokeswoman, spoke at the scene Saturday afternoon.
“First and foremost, we just want families and the people out here to know that our thoughts are with them and that we will do whatever we can,” Ballard said.
She said ONG was arranging for hotel rooms for those who were displaced.
“For everyone affected by this situation we want them to know our thoughts go out to them,” Ballard said. She did not comment about the investigation into the cause of the blast.
Austin Melton, 20, was asleep in a bedroom in his home across the street and facing the one that exploded.
“It felt like an earthquake. The house shook. Plates broke. Everything just went really bad. Power flickered on and off, and I just didn’t know what all was happening until I looked outside and saw that there was a fire,” Melton said.
He said his landlord was helping him find a place to stay for Saturday night.
Construction crews Saturday afternoon lined the street, boarding up windows and repairing walls at a number of homes on the street and on nearby streets.
Fulkerson said, “There is what looks like a debris field from a tornado in the street for about 200 yards.”
“All this happened very quickly. It was widespread,” Fulkerson said.
Two houses next to the house that exploded were heavily damaged. Other homes on the street sustained exterior damage, and several vehicles had significant glass damage.
“This was a significant explosion,” Fulkerson said. “This could have been much worse.”