GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Authorities are evacuating the area around 7th St. and Orchard Ave. where a significant gas line break has caused a home explosion.

    The home was fully engulfed in flames. We are getting reports that 3 people have burn related injuries. No word on the extent of the injuries.

    Tope Elementary and Grand Junction High School have evacuated. Tope Elementary students are being taken to West Middle School, GJHS students are going to Sherwood Park or Salvation Army. Parents will need to show photo identification to pick up their children.


    Cause Outlined, Neighbor Reaction in House Explosion Incident

    GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The stench of gas lingered in the air as traffic officials scrambled to get people out of the area around 7th Street and Orchard Avenue after an incident that never should have occurred.

    "There was a directional bore going into place. That's when you put a line in without digging it. You drill through and then pull the line back through. There was an unmarked gas line and it was clipped," explained Damon Gant with Grand Valley Traffic Control.

    Officials say gas got into the sewer system and spread, creating a nightmare for the quiet, residential neighborhood.

    "It was awful ... if was an awful site," recalled Hillary Vice, an eye-witness.

    "It sounded like there was a car crash right in our yard. It rattled all the windows," said David Powell, a neighbor the next block over.

    Tuesday afternoon, neighbors recalled the terrifying moments after the gas leak sparked and ripped into a Grand Junction home.

    "I was screaming for my friends but they weren't coming out," said Conor Hatch.

    He and Demi Belomer were just steps away from walking into the house when booming noises turned into flames before their eyes.

    "I saw the garage explode and then I saw the whole house explode and then fall down," added Hatch.

    "There were flames, I'd say, 50 feet in the air," said Powell.

    "I've never run so fast before in my life to get to where it happened to see if people were okay," explained Vice.

    The three people inside survived, but were rushed to the hospital.

    "They had some burns to them. One guys face was super pale and had some bleeding inside his mouth," described Vice.

    As friends and neighbors looked on helplessly, all they could do was hope the silent predator doesn't strike again.

    "I'm scared. I'm very scared," said Vice.


    GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The incidents surrounding the puncture of an allegedly unmarked gas line that led to a house explosion remain under investigation.

    Officials with the Mesa County Joint Information Center say multiple agencies are performing simultaneous investigations, including the city of Grand Junction, Xcel Energy and various insurance companies.

    The JIC says the first 911 call came in at 11:54 a.m. March 19, from an employee of the company drilling into the ground for the construction of a traffic signal.

    Officials say during that drilling, a gas line was clipped.

    A crew member with Grand Valley Traffic Control, who responded to the scene of the explosion, told NewsChannel 5 that the gas line in question was not marked. JIC officials have not confirmed that claim.

    Police say the explosion took place at 12:48 p.m., about one hour after the original incident was reported.

    The home that exploded was six properties away from the source of the gas leak.

    Officials say timelines and information from the numerous parties involved are still being collected and the investigation is ongoing.

    There is no word on if any entity involved will be facing charges of any kind and no criminal nor civil investigation has been opened as of yet.

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