Neighbors in northwest Oklahoma City spent Saturday afternoon securing their homes by boarding up their windows, and still trying to wrap their minds around what happened overnight.
“In 12 hours, we have survived an explosion and moved out of our house,” said Gabrielle Marks, who lives across the street and was jolted from her sleep by the explosion.
Marks and dozens of people were forced from their homes because of the destruction. And it could be a long road ahead before things get better.
“Many of these homes are going to be uninhabitable for quite some time,” said Kent Edwards, public insurance adjuster.
Edwards is an insurance loss consultant with Claim Help Public Adjusting Group. He was on the scene Saturday, he said, to offer help to the people now facing a tremendous loss.
“They’re going to be asked to be making the biggest decisions of their life at probably the worst possible moment in their life,” he told News 9.
Edwards said if these homeowners have even a basic fire policy, their coverage would almost certainly include fire, lightning and explosion.
As residents and onlookers continued to survey damage along the street, investigators with Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) said they are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.
Several neighbors reported a natural gas smell in the area, and said ONG crews were there just before the incident.
ONG could not confirm that Saturday afternoon, but News 9 did learn crew members capped an apparent leak almost immediately after the explosion.
“We just want everyone to know that our thoughts go out to this entire neighborhood and everyone affected and we will do our best to accommodate them in whatever way we can, as far as hotels or whatever they might need,” ONG spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard said.
The investigation is still underway, Ballard said.
There were no confirmed details Saturday regarding the reason crews were called to the area overnight before it happened or the cause of the explosion.