Gas explosion rocks Gainesville neighborhood

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GAINESVILLE, TX - A house explosion early Thursday morning rocked a Gainesville neighborhood.

And it left a family of four without a home.

Barry Sullivan, Gainesville city manager, said crews working on a water main break around 1 a.m hit a gas line on Weaver Street.

Jennifer Ryan, Atmos Energy spokeswoman, said their crews evacuated the block around 4:30 a.m.

"Upon arrival, Atmos officials began evacuating people from seven homes due to high levels of natural gas in the sewer vents," she said.

But as residents waited outside at a safe distance, Martine and Alma Martinez watched their home explode.

The couple lives with their two sons at 221 West Tennie. Officials say it exploded around 7 a.m.

Joe Adams leaves nearby and heard the explosion.

"And I got up, figured it was somebody slamming their door or something. And I came out and there was water everywhere," he said. "It was foggy, couldn't really see what was going on."

Martine and Alma work for Laurie Leahy, president of Thirstystone Resources.

"We understood it was their property, and I think all of us just wanted to run to the scene and try to figure out what had happened," she said. "But they were safe, and we brought them here."

She's letting them stay in her home while they regroup - and is asking for donations from the community to help them out.

"We're just kinda trying to get together a list of most important items to replace. Things like glasses, cell phone chargers - Alma left here in her Tweety Bird pajamas."

And no one was hurt in the explosion.

"That's what we kept saying to them is - today the only space rented in your head is that you're alive, and you were evacuated efficiently," she said.

Authorities are still investigating the official cause of this gas leak.They won't comment on who will pay for the damage to the home.

If you'd like to donate items to the Martinez family, you can drop them off at Thirstystone in Gainesville. Or contact Leahy at 800-896-7001.

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