HALTOM CITY -- After finishing a dinner of pork chops, Jaime and Maria Diaz stood in their kitchen Tuesday evening, washing dishes and planning the family's Christmas celebrations.
Their son-in-law and 5-year-old grandson were in a bedroom using a computer.
Without warning, an explosion rocked their house.
"I had never felt anything like that before. I didn't know what it was at first," Jaime Diaz said Wednesday as he stood in front of what was left of the house in the 4900 block of Orien Street. "I just grabbed her and said, 'Run!'"
The explosion blew open the cabinet doors and the refrigerator, he said.
Maria Diaz slipped on spilled ice cubes, but Jaime Diaz got her out. His grandson and son-in-law also ran.
"As we're getting out of the house, I finally realized it must have been a gas explosion," he said. "I just knew we needed to get out before the flames got us."
The Fire Department got the call shortly before 7 p.m.
While waiting outside, the family searched for Diva, one of its dogs, who had been inside the house.
"When we ran out and the flames were out, I stood by the door and called for her, but she didn't answer," he said. "I just thought she had been killed."
Diaz's son found Diva on Wednesday morning as he looked through the charred debris. She was huddled behind a freezer.
"She was shaking, but she looked OK," Jaime Diaz said. "My daughter took her straight to the vet."
Jaime Diaz said he smelled gas shortly before the explosion but did not think it was a hazard and had not experienced recent problems.
"We don't even have those small gas heaters," Jaime Diaz said. "We had just used the stove and that was it."
Maria Diaz was treated at a hospital and released.
Jaime Diaz said his hair and his grandson's hair were singed a bit.
Firefighters found that the explosion had sheared off the gas meter at ground level. They were at the house again Wednesday wetting down smoking embers.
The cause of the fire had not been determined Wednesday afternoon, nor had investigators determined an ignition point, Fire Marshal Fred Napp said.
They will wait for Atmos Energy to get further along in its investigation before they collaborate to reach a conclusion about the cause, Napp said.
The fire was fed by natural gas until Atmos workers capped the gas line leading to the house, Napp said. No other Atmos customers lost service, he said.
The line from the front of the house to the gas meter was new, said Ray Granado, an Atmos spokesman. Atmos workers have been replacing some old metal lines with plastic lines, and he could tell that the line was new because it was yellow, he said.
Jaime Diaz said that his family plans to stay with a daughter in north Fort Worth but that he wants to rebuild. The house was insured.
"We thank God we all made it out," he said. "It just wasn't our time to go."
Domingo Ramirez Jr.,