One person is dead and another is injured after a house explosion in Madison Township, Ohio early this morning. Shelly Williams, 54, and Stewart Bell, 59, both sustained severe burns in the explosion and were transported to OSU Wexner Medical Center where Ms. Williams later died.
Neighbors told local news media that they were awoken by a loud sound, like a clap of thunder, and came outside to see the house had collapsed and the debris was on fire. Several of them rushed to help Shelly Williams and Stuart Bell before first responders arrived at the scene on the 3300 block of Everson Road East around 4:00 a.m.
One neighbor told NBC4 News that there had been a gas smell around the house for about a month yet Columbia Gas of Ohio, told the station it has not been called to that area for three years. The investigation needs to determine if there was an odor and, if so, if the company or local authorities were alerted.
The company had the following statement on its website on the day of the explosion: “We’re experiencing technical issues with our toll-free phone lines. If you call to report a gas odor, carbon monoxide or gas related emergency and are unsuccessful, please call 911.” It was still there the next day. When someone detects a gas odor, they and and others could be in imminent danger. It is concerning that Columbia Gas of Ohio toll-free phone lines were not working on the day of this explosion.
Columbia inspectors walk neighborhoods to survey leaks and were last in that area in April 2016, a spokeswoman for the company told the Columbus Dispatch. The company is working with fire officials on the investigation of the explosion. The company released the following statement to 10tv.com:
“Our thoughts are with the family and community of those injured in this morning’s reported explosion on Everson Road East in Madison Township. Our crews are on the scene assisting the State Fire Marshal, Madison Township Fire Department, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in the investigation.
We turned off gas service at the curb to the impacted home and the neighboring homes. At this time there is no known cause.
We will provide more details as they become available.”
The explosion attorneys at Pritzker Hagemen law firm conduct independent investigations of blast scenes with their team of forensic experts. They represent clients with personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. To contact our law firm call 1(888) 377-8900 toll-free or use our free consultation form.