Woman survives house explosion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Woman survives house explosion

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November 3, 2003

Bay - A south Georgia woman survives a house explosion. A gas leak caused her house to explode.

It's happening around the nation. As people turn on their home heaters, gas leaks cause their houses to explode. All it takes is a leak and a tiny spark to level your home. It happened to a woman right here in South Georgia last week. She survived only because the ball of fire that rushed through her house missed her bedroom.

A Maryland duplex was leveled, six people injured. In Michigan, one person was killed in a house explosion. A bystander says, "They were still alive, they were screaming and he got them away from it."

All gas related explosions. Bay Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Cooper says, "Oh yes, very powerful. Mrs. Arnett is a very lucky lady." Now, it has happened right here in South Georgia. Eighty-one-year-old Pauline Arnett survived after half of her Colquitt County home exploded. Propane gas leak is to blame. Cooper adds, "It put a crack in just about every wall in the house."

The explosion destroyed two bedrooms. Luckily, Arnett was sleeping in the room not affected by the blast. Within seconds, volunteer firefighters were knocking her door down. Cooper says, "They [firefighters] heard a loud explosion, shook the fire station and several residence in the area."

Arnett struck luck again, the Fire Department is stationed across the street. Firefighters just left a training class. Cooper says, "One of the firefighters had seen a fireball project back from this end of the house."

Propane gas has a distinct odor, but Arnett never smelled anything. Cooper gives stern advice, "Use your nose and get out." He adds, "When you get that kind of gas concentration anything could set it off, a telephone, alarm clock, static just about anything."

There was very little fire, a whole lot of damage, but a lucky life was saved all because she was in the right place at the right time.

If you smell gas, get out of the house immediately. Do not call 911 from inside your home, use a neighbors phone or a cell phone once you leave.

You should also get your gas appliances and furnaces checked by professionals on a yearly basis.

posted at 6:03PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com