Rochester, MN – The early morning explosion caused by a natural gas leak has an entire neighborhood on alert and is leaving nearly a dozen families homeless.
Late Wednesday night any hopes of coming home soon disappeared.
Originally Police were hoping to get evacuated residents back in their homes around 10 o’clock.
The gas company says that is not a safe option yet.
They have fixed the leak found under the road but police say there is still gas trapped underground that needs to seep to the surface.
They don’t want to take the chance that someone could come back to their home and do something that would spark that gas and cause a fire or another explosion.
For this neighborhood that’s been through so much already, the ordeal will continue at least through the night.
It is a wake up people in this neighborhood will never forget.
Jennifer da Silva says, “A man I like to refer to as the mysterious stranger we did not know was knocking on our door. My husband answered the door and I heard, fire, fire, get out.”
A home directly across the street had exploded, bursting into flames.
Amazingly the three people inside, including a man with Cerebral palsy, escaped without injury.
Da Silva says, “It was truly miraculous that they made it out of that house with minor scratches.”
Unable to find the gas leak that they believe caused the explosion, crews evacuated the neighborhood fearing more problems.
Ronald Alberts says, “I just threw on some clothes and went out. They woke me up.”
About 20 people were forced to call a Red Cross shelter home and more than 100 others were left without power.
14 hours after the explosion there was some progress.
Crews found the source of a gas leak under the street around 5-thirty in the evening.
Jon Turk says, “Other people don’t need to worry. This is, from what I understand, kind of an unusual situation that’s developed here and it’s very isolated right here.”
As crews race to fix the leak and test neighboring homes, these families patiently wait, thankful everyone is alive.
Da Silva says, “Other than the fact that we ran out with what we threw on over our pajamas and we look pretty shabby, we have absolutely nothing to complain about.”
Police say the gas company plans to leave for the evening and return in the morning to do more tests, hopefully with better results.
Police will be on the scene all night to make sure no one can get into the secured area.
The good news is that as of 9 o’clock RPU has restored power to most of the 100 plus homes in the neighborhood that were without it most of the day.