BOTHELL, Wash. - A suspected natural gas explosion destroyed a house — sending the garage door flying across the street and shattering the windows of neighboring homes — Wednesday morning in Bothell.
According to Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue, firefighters were called before 10:00 a.m. to a home on 25th Dr. SE at 197th St. SE.
Neighbors that witnessed the aftermath told FOX 13 News that the initial blast felt like an earthquake – but as they ran outside puffs of smoke began to fill the sky.
"I didn’t even comprehend what it could have been," said Debbie Dadula, who lives several houses down the road.
(Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
According to Dadula, the fire itself was delayed. Investigators told FOX 13 late Wednesday morning that it’s a tell-tale sign of a natural gas explosion.
"Natural gas explosions are especially dangerous, especially if you’re inside," explained Peter Mongillo, with Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue.
Mongillo said that the homeowners, who had just closed on the home days earlier, had left roughly one hour prior to the explosion. While it’s believed that natural gas caused the explosion, investigators from both the fire marshal’s office and ATF were on the ground documenting the damage as part of an investigation.
While the home was empty at the time of the explosion, nearby homes suffered damage as well. The blast was so powerful that the exploding home’s garage door was flung more than 50 yards across the street.
The explosion left shingles in nearby trees, and blew out windows on each of the three surrounding homes – one man, Mark, was returning home from the grocery store when he realized that nearly every window in his home had been knocked out in the blast.
"Glad I wasn’t in the house either," he said – adding that it was hard to be upset when he saw the devastation his new neighbors had just suffered.
One person who lives several blocks away told FOX 13 that he rushed over to see if everyone was okay. His biggest fear: that people were hurt.
"It was cold," recalled Ray Cantu. "My hands started shaking. It wasn’t from the cold, it was from the shock of what I was seeing and wondering if anyone was injured."
Luckily, no one was harmed. However, the clean-up efforts will take quite a long time.
Investigators said it’s a cautionary tale, that people need to be vigilant about natural gas connections in their homes. Mongillo noted that if you’re not sure if something is okay, it’s best to have someone come to your home to investigation.
"If you have natural gas in your house, it’s really important that you have a carbon monoxide detector or alarm in your house," he said. "Natural gas has that nasty egg smell. If you smell that, call 9-1-1 immediately. That’s a definite sign of a gas leak.