Local/State

Sources: Gas to blame for home explosion

Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Authorities in Fayetteville are investigating an early Wednesday morning explosion at a vacant home in 3300 block of Cumberland Road. Authorities in Fayetteville are investigating an early Wednesday morning explosion at a vacant home in 3300 block of Cumberland Road.

Authorities are investigating an early Wednesday morning explosion at a vacant home in Fayetteville.

A spokesperson with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said that investigators at first ruled out a gas leak as the cause of the blast, but sources later said the cause was in fact gas.

The explosion happened around 2 a.m. in the 3300 block of Cumberland Road near Mayfair Street.

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The house was completely destroyed. No one was hurt.

Realtor Tim Evans - who was selling the home - told ABC11 he checked on the property around 3 p.m. Tuesday and noticed a smell of gas. He reported it to the homeowner - who is an elderly man - but the homeowner told him he believed the supply tank for the home was empty, so they didn't pursue it.

Officials said a deputy happened to be driving down the road when the house blew up less than 50 feet away from him.

They said he was so close that pieces of the home got embedded in the side of his patrol car. It is now being processed as evidence in the investigation.

The blast rocked the neighborhood -- damaging at least 15 nearby homes and businesses.

"I was in my house asleep and I heard a loud boom, which sounded like a bomb, then I walked out here and I seen this house totally decimated," neighbor Weldon Davis said. "There was debris all in the street and my neighbor's ... porch was knocked off."

"I was laying in bed when I heard a big crash, boom ... all the stuff blew off my wall," neighbor Hillary Jarman said. "I jumped up I was kind of scared to look, soon as I looked I could see through where the house used to be, so I knew there was something going on. ... I thought something exploded or a car went through that house and exploded. I didn't know what it could be."

Across the street from the home, East Coast Scooter owner Carson Kemp said he received a call from his alarm company after the blast. The force from the explosion shattered a window at his store and triggered the alarm.

Surveillance video from his business showed several cars driving by just before the explosion, but fortunately the frequently traveled road was clear when the house detonated Kemp said.

"If it happened during the day, you have all these kids waiting on the school bus out here ... it's a very populated area," Kemp added.

Traffic along Cumberland Road between Boone Trail and Natal Street had to be rerouted for hours as crews cleared the scene. The road was reopened just before noon.

The State Bureau of Investigation is currently handling the investigation.

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