Fire Marshal: House explosion could not have been prevented - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fire Marshal: House explosion could not have been prevented

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Remains of the River Trail Place home after the explosion Remains of the River Trail Place home after the explosion
Okolona fire marshal Mike Allendorf Okolona fire marshal Mike Allendorf
Fire coming from the sewers after the home explosion. The flames were being fed by natural gas. Fire coming from the sewers after the home explosion. The flames were being fed by natural gas.
Garage door of the home was blown across the street by the blast. It landed in a neighbor's yard. Garage door of the home was blown across the street by the blast. It landed in a neighbor's yard.
Aerial view if the home after the explosion and fire. Aerial view if the home after the explosion and fire.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The investigation into what caused the house explosion in Okolona is complete. It happened early Tuesday in the Indian Falls neighborhood. Mike Allendorf, the Okolona fire marshal, said a ruptured water line that pushed debris into a gas line caused the leak that led to the fire. The question now is could it have been prevented?

Allendorf says no. According to Allendorf what led up to the house being leveled into nothing more than a pile of debris was such a perfect storm enough gas just built up that could have taken out any of the homes.

It took several digs before workers could pinpoint where the gas leaked that built up inside what was a home, leveling it in just minutes. Allendorf siad they thought an area where two pipes were connected must have come apart.

"Anytime you have the human element of putting things together that's where you think you'll have the failure," explained Allendorf.

With everything intact in that spot, crews moved just a little closer to the street where the fire marshal says a 3/4 inch water pipe that ruptured started the problem.

"With the turbulent water coming out of the pipe the couple inches of rain we had created a turbulence underground," Allendorf said.

That pushed rock, debris, even maybe a brick left over when this subdivision was constructed into the 4 inch gas line poking a hole no bigger than the end of a pen in it. Though small, it was enough to cause gas to build up to explosive levels inside the home. Around 7 a.m. Tuesday, the home, along with the sewers around it, erupted.

"We'll probably never know what caused the trigger inside that home to make the home explode," said Allendorf. "It could be anything from a light switch to static electricity to the furnace going off."

Another unknown is how long the gas had been leaking. Firefighters said the homeowner reported the smell of gas sometime before the fire and LG&E workers were out in the subdivision troubleshooting when the house went up. They don't believe the gas had been there for more than a day adding there was such a long chain of events leading up the explosion it probably could not have been prevented.

"Unfortunately things fail by whatever means element, nature, man made things do happen," Allendorf said.

This time what happened was not caught early enough to stop the destruction.

Louisville Water Company said they are helping with the investigation, but were not working on any lines nor did they have any reports of issues with the lines.

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