Bradenton, FL — Three family members and a responding firefighter were injured Thursday afternoon in a gas-related home explosion.
On Friday, one family member, who was not home when the residence blew up, and the family’s attorney held a news conference.
They both demand answers.
“We’re gonna find out what happened — why it happened,” said attorney C.J. Czaia. “The family is super upset. You think they would stay in a house full of gas if they knew it was full of gas? Somebody made a grave mistake.”
Carina Lopez said her father and brother, Adrian Lopez Sr. and Jr, are both in really bad shape, but doctors said they are stable.
“At the moment, my brother — they say he does have third-degree burns on his arms,” she said. “My dad has second degree … all over his body.”
Lopez said she’s also very concerned about her mother’s health.
“My mom at the moment, she’s getting tested. She might have some damage to her heart from the gas.”
As for why her father and brother were inside the home when it exploded, Lopez said they were told not to be concerned about the gas.
“They just smelled the gas, but they were told there was nothing to worry about…They didn’t tell them to evacuate or anything,” she said. “So they were just outside at first. And then my brother and my dad went inside really quick, and [the home] just exploded.
It all happened at a home near the intersection of 9th St. W and 30th Ave. W in Bradenton.
“I was in front of the house, all you hear is boom, a loud boom. I look over I see the flames up in the air,” said witness Nathaniel Bevin.
A firefighter was also injured while battling the resulting fire and suffered non-life threatening injuries.
A spokesperson for TECO energy released the following statement to Spectrum Bay News 9:
“Peoples Gas worked closely with the fire department to respond to the reports of the smell of natural gas near an excavation site mid-day [Thursday]. While crews and representatives from the fire department were working in the area to locate the source of the natural gas odor and make the excavation area safe, the explosion occurred at a residence.”
The incident is under investigation and we are cooperating with local fire department officials, who are leading the investigation.
In a news release on Thursday, Cedar Hammock Fire Control District said, “fire and TECO crews responded at 11:30 a.m. to a report of a natural gas leak in the 2900 block of 9th Street West. According to officials, while they were setting up a perimeter and searching for the leak, an explosion was heard at 2:03 p.m.”
According to that release, officials believe there was a build-up of gas in the sewer lines.
Florida Power & Light responded and shut down power to the area, officials say, to “mitigate potential ignition sources.”
The release states that the Red Cross has been notified and will assist those affected.