Atmos crews find gas line leak near home that exploded Saturday in North Richland Hills

12/23/2013 9:47 PM

12/23/2013 9:48 PM

Utility workers found a leak on distribution gas line near a home that exploded Saturday in North Richland Hills, sending a 7-year-old girl to the hospital with severe burns.

The explosion violently rocked a Christmas gathering, about 4 p.m. Saturday, at the home in the 7900 block of Harwood Road.

The blast blew out windows in the front of the house.

A spokeswoman for Atmos Energy confirmed in a news release Monday that the leak was discovered by utility crews.

“In the course of the on-site investigation, Atmos Energy crews found a leak on a distribution gas line located on Harwood Road,” said Jennifer Ryan, spokeswoman. “Our crews have cut out that section of line and replaced the pipe.”

Gas service was restored to the neighborhood after crews conducted a safety test, Ryan said.

She said it was premature on to conclude that the leak caused the blast.

Ryan added that Atmos was cooperating with the Texas Railroad Commission “to determine the exact cause of Saturday’s incident.”

“Investigations of this nature,” she said, “can take time.”

Homeowner Marvin Reinoshek said on Saturday that his niece went to the bathroom that day and turned on the light. Then the room exploded.

Her condition at the hospital was unavailable on Monday.

Reinoshek also said that he had smelled something “kind of funky” coming from the bathroom for days but wasn’t sure what it was.

Later he wondered if it was a gas leak.

Reinoshek was blown back by the explosion, but everyone in the house managed to get out.

Windows were blown out of the house, and some of the walls in the house were damaged, a fire department official said.

Ryan said the utility did not get any requests for service from the Harwood Road neighborhood before the explosion.

“We want to remind everyone, if you small natural gas or rotten eggs, to please leave the area immediately and call 911,” Ryan said.

People can also call the Atmos emergency line at 1-886-322-8667. Utility officials will respond at no cost to customers, Ryan said.

This article contains information from the Star-Telegram archives.

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