O'FALLON, Mo. — In just a matter of seconds, an O'Fallon, Missouri home is leveled after a contractor accidentally hit a gas line. Now a family is without a home and officials are calling on the company responsible to take action.
The home explosion happened Tuesday morning on Millers Court near Bryan and Feise Roads.
Tuesday night, fire crews work to put out hotspots over the home that once stood. Neighbors were left stunned by the explosion that seemed to come out of nowhere.
"We heard the sirens and the fire truck, saw smoke, and ash was blowing through the sky,” Laura Vaclavik said.
The family who was inside made it out in time.
"They lost everything,” Mark Snead added.
Down the road at Little Learners of O'Fallon, staff members are coming to the aid of the homeowner who works there. They call her Mrs. Judy.
"We actually got a call from her son and he asked to go check on her, make sure she was OK so instantly I'm out the door, on the way to her house,” said Director Shayla Jackson.
She immediately knew her team would create an online fundraiser to help out.
"She has a heart of gold. Every child in here adores her. The teachers adore her. She will do everything she can to help everybody,” Jackson said.
The City of O’Fallon said this is the second time a company called Gateway Fiber has hit a gas line in the past two weeks. Now the city is suspending all of the company's work permits.
"Prior to restarting any work, the company will be required to submit documentation showing what happened in these incidents and what changes are being made to ensure the safety of our residents,” city leaders said in a post on Facebook.
Tuesday, a representative from Gateway Fiber said the company is cooperating with authorities who are investigating.
Heath Sellenriek, the president of Gateway Fiber provided the following statement:
“At Gateway Fiber, nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of the communities we serve, our customers, and employees. As a local company committed to improving our neighborhoods, we share the concern over yesterday’s incident in O’Fallon, Missouri.
A preliminary assessment has found that while drilling for a new underground fiber line at a residential home, a subcontractor working on one of our job sites inadvertently struck a natural gas line. The subcontractor immediately stopped their work and contacted Spire Energy which arrived quickly and evacuated the home. During Spire’s attempt to repair the natural gas line, an explosion occurred which affected the entire home and at least one nearby structure. Thankfully, no one was injured.
The subcontractor conducting this work has been terminated.
We are actively cooperating with the local investigating authorities and focusing on how we can help the affected families and community. We look forward to the results of this investigation.”
Meantime, staff at Little Learners will continue reaching into their pockets because that's what friends do.
"She always asks what she can do to help so it's our turn…There are some things that money is not going to be able to buy back for her but hopefull we'll be able to at least help her get her feet back on the ground again,” Jackson said.
The organizers of the fundraiser initially set their goal at $5,000. Tuesday, they quickly surpassed it. They've now raised their goal to $10,000.
If you would like to donate, click here.