Gainesville family speaks out following home explosion, city releases cause

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

GAINESVILLE, TX -- In the early hours of a chilly January morning, Martin and Alma Martinez watched with their two sons, as their house exploded.

Three weeks later they now have a new place to call home.

"Speechless. We were like 'wow.' My mom, she started crying," Jose Martinez said.

Martin and Alma work at Thirstystone Resources. After the explosion, company president Laurie Leahy immediately began a campaign to raise donations.

And they soon found a new house for the family to rent.

"Hopefully, we didn't just restore some possession, but made sure that they continued to believe in the kindness of humanity, and that they truly matter in their workplace," Leahy said.

Other Thirstystone employees spent hours of their own time, helping to fix the place up and filled it with donated items - like furniture, silverware and salt and pepper, she said.

"It was actually pretty amazing. Knowing that somebody that you know, cares so much about you and your family, it means a lot," Jose said.

And Gainesville now has a cause for the gas leak that led to the explosion.

City Manager Barry Sullivan said a water main leak eroded the dirt underneath the paved road where a dump truck was parked

"So it actually created a cavern underneath the street, and then the weight from the truck caused the street to give way," Sullivan said.

When the street collapsed it pulled the gas line out of the main, which caused the leak, he said.

The report by the fire marshal notes that the city followed all correct procedures, including calling for a dig site company to mark utility lines.

"A company showed up, located gas lines. However, they did not locate this particular gas line," Sullivan said.

But the Martinez family is just thankful they're all alright.

"And thank God for giving us another chance to be alive," Martin said.

Sullivan said they aren't sure who is liable for the damage. He said they just issued a report of the facts, and will let the insurance company decide what happens next.


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