Crews determine cause of Taunton house explosion

By News Staff

Reporting by Kainani Stevens & Rebecca Turco

Investigators are saying they know what caused the devastating explosion that destroyed a house in Taunton Sunday afternoon, leaving a local woman homeless.

Firefighters believe the explosion at 40 Christine Lane was an accident and the result a home repair gone wrong, when the woman who owned the home was trying to fix her gas water heater. The homeowner removed the gas-shut-off valve, causing it to spread and quickly ignited.

Windows, molding, and rubble, are all that’s left of the house on Monday. The homeowner made it out of the home without injury, running after the front door blew open.

"The building collapsed within two minutes of them being on-scene," says Taunton Fire Chief, Timothy Bradshaw.

Firefighters are don’t exactly how the gas caught fire, but believe it could have been from the pilot on the water heater, the furnace, or an electrical switch.

"It’s a highly flammable substance, so you have that potential. You should always have certified technicians, certified workers, do work on all your utilities and all your appliances," says Chief Bradshaw.

One next door neighbor, Sandra Cuto, is still in shock over what happened.

"I heard this loud bang. I had no idea what it was at first, then I look out the window and just see debris everywhere all over the lawn. I ran out and just saw the flames, shooting out from the basement," said Sandra.

"When I got out of the house I saw her, the owner, just screaming for help. It’s just a pile of charred rubble now and she got out of there without a scratch. She looked fine. It’s amazing. Very lucky," said Sandra, who is dealing with her own damage from the fire after it jumped to her property.

"I’m very lucky it didn’t spread, because the flames were just unbelievable. It was so hot," says Cuto, counting her blessings.

The gas line has since been turned just in case. The rest of the street will remain live, but the gas company is checking in as a precaution.

© WLNE-TV 2015