Firefighters were called about 12:30 p.m. to the single-story wood framed home in the 2400 block of South Vermont Street, located just south of 23rd Street and Sterling Avenue. (Andy Sherer/KCTV5 News)
Officer Tom Gentry, a police spokesman, said the house was flattened.
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -
A natural gas leak sparked an explosion that leveled a house in Independence and rocked the surrounding homes.
Independence police said Tuesday night that detectives and officials determined that a leak inside the home caused the explosion. The source of the leak hasn't been determined.
Jim Dorsey and his wife had just left their home to take their adult son to an appointment when they received a devastated telephone call from their neighbor.
"We were pretty shook up," he said. "To see this mess, it was terrible."
Firefighters were called about 12:30 p.m. to the single-story wood framed home in the 2400 block of South Vermont Street, located just south of 23rd Street and Sterling Avenue.
Chopper5 was over the house, which was flattened by the explosion.
Several pets were inside the home. At least two pets are missing and presumed dead.
A pug and a border collie were thrown by the blast into a neighbor's yard where they were found. The Great Plains SPCA animal shelter in Independence is taking care of the animals whose owners are now homeless. The shelter said workers have covered kennels and are piping oxygen into the kennels for the dogs. The dogs suffered singed hair and scrapes, but are doing OK considering their ordeal, the shelter said.
Witnesses in the neighborhood said moments after the explosion there was a huge plume of white smoke and a bad smell. However, neighbors said they didn't smell anything unusual before the explosion.
"It just exploded," said John Ray who was driving down the street and saw the flames. "It just blew up, plain and simple."
The American Red Cross is assisting the homeowners. Two firefighters were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion, but will be OK.
Crystal Dorsey rushed to her parents' home and was horrified by what she saw.
"It's just sad," she said. "That was my childhood home and to think it's gone, it just hurts," she said. "That was my childhood home."
Her father struggled to process the events of Tuesday afternoon.
"We've lived there since 1971 and I had my dogs and stuff in the yard. We just loved the house. I liked the garden and other stuff I liked to do," he said.
His in-laws owned the house before he and his wife did. He said he cannot comprehend trying to start over in their golden years.
"I'm 67 years old. It's hard to start over again," he said. "And my wife, she's like 72. It's going to be really hard."
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