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Travis Noble and his 3-year-old son were able to escape from their 11th Street home in Carrollton without injury Tuesday when a gas explosion brought the roof in on them and set the house on fire.
“I have no idea how they were able to get out of there,” Carrollton Fire Chief Mike Terrell said Wednesday morning, because the explosion caused the living room area of the house to collapse.
Noble was asleep on the sofa in the living room when it occurred, Terrell said. The blast woke him up as debris fell from the ceiling on him. He grabbed his son, who was standing in front of him, and headed for the front door. Due to the fire, smoke and damage from the explosion, they were not able to get out that way. Noble managed to get out of the home through the garage without injury to him or the child, Terrell said.
The cause of the explosion at the house, located at 1104 11th St., was a gas explosion in the basement, Terrell said. Due to the damage to the home, firefighters have not been able to go into the basement to track the cause specifically to the furnace, water heater or the gas line leading into the home.
When the explosion occurred, Travis Noble’s mother, Wanda, was sitting on the home’s front porch.
“It threw me plum off the porch and into the yard,” she said Tuesday, sitting in her wheel chair across the street during the fire. Surrounded by family and friends providing her support, Wanda Noble watched as firefighters battled the intense flames that destroyed the
structure and even melted siding on a home next door.
She said her only injury was singed hair around the back of her neck.
In a moment of humor, Noble said she could just cut that off and grow some new hair back.
But she said she never smelled gas prior to the explosion.
Terrell said it was clearly a gas explosion in the basement because the floor in the main living area was pushed up and buckled by the blast.
A Carroll County EMS unit was driving back from Green Valley Rehabilitation and saw the explosion occur, he said. They called dispatch at 2:06 p.m. and got help on the way to the scene quickly.
Carrollton Fire Department was assisted by Ghent Fire Protection District and firefighters from Worthville and Westside fire departments, Terrell said. Others assisting at the scene were Carrollton Police Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Carroll County Rescue Squad, Carroll County EMS, Jailer Mike Humphrey, Kentucky State Police, Carrollton Utilities and Kentucky Utilities.
Crews remained on scene Tuesday until 7:22 p.m. Terrell, Carrollton Police, the state utilities commission and Carrollton Utilities were back on the scene Wednesday morning ensuring the gas service to the home was capped off, city police spokesman Officer Tim Gividen said.
Terrell said the home was a total loss. Other than a few items that were in the garage, the family lost everything.
The American Red Cross is assisting the Noble family, putting them up in a hotel on Tuesday night, he said.
One firefighter on the scene was overcome by the heat and another had an anxiety attack that caused an asthma attack. Both were taken to the Carroll County Memorial Hospital, Terrell said, but released and returned to the scene to assist the department.
Terrell said the state fire marshal came to the scene Tuesday and helped determine that the cause was a gas explosion. Unless the department is requested to investigate further, he said he does not know if the exact cause will be determined because they are unable to go into the basement at this point.
Terrell said this is the first time he has seen a gas explosion in Carrollton.