Firefighters and gas workers stand in front of a Peoria house that was destroyed in a fiery explosion in which two people were burned and injured. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Tiara del Rio
A view from the air shows the extent of the damage to a house that was destroyed by a fiery explosion. Two people were treated for severe burns. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News)
PEORIA, AZ (CBS5) -
The 911 tapes and emergency radio traffic recordings have been released in the massive home explosion that severely injured two people in Peoria Oct. 16.
"Oh my God, uh, this house just blew up right across the street from us!" said one caller to the operator.
When first responders arrived, they found two people inside the home severely burned.
"I have two subjects with severe burns," said one first responder to the dispatcher.
"Just to let you know, they're going to be landing two helicopters for these two burn victims," said another, as helicopters roared overhead.
Investigators with the Peoria fire and police departments believe a fiery explosion that severely burned two people and destroyed their home was caused by a natural gas leak.
"There was some work being done there in the backyard, and we found kind of a trench or a ditch," said Amanda Jacinto, public information officer with Peoria's Public Safety Department. "And it looks like at some point something they were doing back there damaged the natural gas line that was back there."
Investigators said they hope to eventually talk with the victims to figure out what ignited the fumes.
"They are not in a medical state where they're able to communicate with us and tell us," said Jacinto. "They were the only ones in the house at the time, that we're aware of, and they're the only ones who have the answers to that."
The gas leak resulted in first-alarm fire that destroyed the house near the corner of Cholla Street and 79th Avenue on Wednesday night.
Family members have identified the victims as Tiara del Rio and Beau Zimbro.
Neighbors said they heard and felt a loud explosion around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday and saw two people running from the home with burn injuries.
"I felt the whole house just shake," said neighbor Andre Perez. "I heard the explosion. I ran outside, and I see the flames from my house."
Peoria Fire Capt. Rob Brewster said that by the time firefighters arrived around 9:43 p.m., the house was engulfed in flames.
"Bunch of smoke, bunch of people, fire everywhere," said Jessica Jansen, another neighbor. "We saw people on the ground. One person on the ground looked like he had burns everywhere."
Brewster said a 32-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were airlifted to the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center in critical condition with second-degree burns over 40 percent to 60 percent of their bodies.
Perez said it appeared both victims had some sort of fragments embedded in their arms.
Firefighters from five cities were able to prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring homes.
Brewster said natural gas lines run to the residence, and the Peoria Fire Department's hazmat crew picked up some gas readings near the destroyed house.
He said other houses in the area were not in danger.
Southwest Gas has turned off service to the property and advises all customers to call 811 before they dig to avoid accidentally hitting a pipeline.
"It's the safest route to go," said Amy Washburn, public information officer for Southwest Gas. "It's a free service; 811 will get someone out there to your backyard or wherever your work may be to find out what kind of infrastructure you have underground before you start digging."
Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.
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