Neighbors In SW OKC Recall Gas Explosion One Year Later

Friday, January 3rd 2014, 7:51 pm
By: News 9

It's been one year since a natural gas explosion sent one home soaring in flames, and a neighborhood evacuated.

One woman was pulled out of the rubble, though no one was seriously hurt. Neighbors say about 12 homes were damaged from the explosion, and a year later, the blast has still left its mark.

"I heard a boom, and you could feel it, and it shook the house," said Don Stokes, who was home with his wife Donna during the explosion at their neighbor's house across the street on Jan. 3, 2013.

"I looked out the bedroom window, and the roof of the house was flying through the air," said Stokes, who has lived in his home for 20 years.

A natural gas leak is blamed for sparking the blast evacuating an entire neighborhood on SWt 92nd St. Roland Rollins, three houses down, says his neighbor Kate Purcell was baking cookies while a contracted crew for AT&T was working on their gas line.

1/3/2013 Related Story: Explosion Levels Home In Southwest OKC

"She asked the workers if it was OK to bake, and they said sure, so she went in and fired her oven, and it wasn't long after that the explosion had happened," said Rollins.

Another neighbor pulled Purcell from her home that went up in flames, and she walked away with a few scratches.

"I'm hurting all over from head to toe, and I'm very sore, and I'm bruised," Purcell said last year.

Purcell lost her cat and has since moved. Her old home is now an empty lot. All the windows that were blown out from the home across the street have been replaced. But the damage is far from over for Rollins.

"It's a brick house, but it's a wood structure underneath, and the brick is unpinned from the house," Rollins said. "You don't realize how much effect one house can have."

Rollins says the explosion left several cracks in his home and busted a window that his insurance company, Allstate, refuses to pay for.

Rollins says a structural engineer says he has $90,000-worth of damage to his home since the blast. But his insurance company estimates $2,500 worth of damage, and he says he plans to sue the company.