Atmos clears Waxahachie explosion scene; Fire Department has not

An evacuation order was lifted Tuesday afternoon by Atmos Energy in the neighborhood where a home exploded Monday, but the city Fire Department had not cleared the scene by about 3 p.m.

Debris and holes where work continued prompted the Waxahachie Fire Department to keep the area closed, according to Stephanie Parker with Ellis County Emergency Management.

Atmos Energy said investigators found evidence of “substantial third-party damage to a natural gas line” near the home, Star-Telegram media partner WFAA/Channel 8 reported. Details on the cause had not been determined Tuesday.

Adele Chavez, 69, who suffered severe burns, was scheduled for surgery Tuesday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, an official at her church said.

Chavez was airlifted to Parkland on Monday, when an explosion around 8 a.m. destroyed her home at 113 Arabian Road, said Nathan Grant, a minister at Refiners Fire church in Ennis. She remained in intensive care Tuesday afternoon.

Chavez suffered burns on 35 to 40 percent of her body, as well as a shoulder injury, Grant said.

Her brother, Jaymie Rodriguez, was burned on his arm and face. In a statement Tuesday, Grant said Rodriguez was in “good condition” and was expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday.

Besides Chavez and Rodriguez, who were inside the home, a few others were treated at the scene, Waxahachie spokeswoman Amy Hollywood said Monday.

Adele Chavez suffered burns on 35 to 40 percent of her body, as well as a shoulder injury, when her home exploded, an official at her church said.

The explosion destroyed Chavez’s home, damaged two others and forced the evacuation of at least 10 more in Saddlebrook Estates.

Victim active at church

Chavez is a longtime member and volunteer at Refiners Fire, a nondenominational church.

“She is very active with our church,” Grant said. “Specifically, we have a food and clothing outreach that runs Monday through Thursday. She works there every day. She’s also a door greeter, so she’s the first person you see when you get here.”

The church posted an update on Grant’s condition on its Facebook page Monday.

“She was responsive and was able to pray with the Pastors while they were there,” it said. “We need to continue to pray that her lungs are good as well as a good prognosis on the burn damage to her body. Please also pray that skin grafts would be minimal.”

The Red Cross and Salvation Army helped in the aftermath, and the Salvation Army planned to provide meals for up to 120 people, according to a news release.

Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7684

Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST