FORT DODGE, Iowa — Two people were injured after a natural gas explosion at their home in central Iowa.

Four residents had just been told to leave the Fort Dodge house Wednesday afternoon when the blast erupted, the Messenger reported . Two of the residents were unharmed. The two others were taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter blamed a natural gas leak that other officials said may have started when a city public works crew stuck a gas line while repairing a broken water main in front of the house.

“They said they bent the gas main a little bit,” said Brent Sandholm, the city’s water utility operations manager. “Nobody smelled gas or anything.”

Sandholm said a MidAmerican Energy worker was sent to the home as a precaution.

Hergenreter said the employee advised the occupants to leave the house when he detected the presence of natural gas. He was a few feet from the front door when the explosion occurred, but wasn’t injured. The occupants were still inside.

A man on the second floor had to jump down to the first floor to escape the flames, according to Hergenreter.

“When we arrived on scene, the building was already partially collapsed,” Hergenreter said. “The roof was already down and we had fire throughout the building.”

Because of the broken water main, city crews had closed several of the neighborhood’s water valves, which made putting out the blaze more difficult for firefighters.

“We had a very poor water supply in the first stages of the incident,” Hergenreter said.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to nearby homes, and monitored the scene through the night. Investigators from the state fire marshal’s office were expected the next morning.


Information from: The Messenger, http://www.messengernews.net