Investigation continues into Gate City explosion - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Investigation continues into Gate City explosion

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One woman is dead, one man is in critical condition and three others are at UAB. All injured in the fire and explosion at Marks Village housing community in Gate City.

First responders discovered there was a gas leak. People who live in this housing community say they have complained about smelling gas in the area for months.

State and federal agencies, including the NTSB are taking the lead in this investigation.

Right now, everyone wants to know what caused this to happen.

Birmingham Fire and Rescue Chief Ivor Brooks described the scene at this community housing project in Gate City.

"There was natural gas. The explosion blew where the gas meters were connected
to the building, they blew that loose. So there was a free flow of natural gas that was burning
upon our arrival."

Four units were destroyed in the explosion. Two of them were vacant.

The leaking gas line made it difficult to extinguish the fire and forced the search for survivors to temporarily be put on hold.

"We had to cease operations at that time, until we could get a way to shut the natural gas off.
Once we got that gas shut off and the flames extinguished, then we were able to extricate (the victims)," said Brooks.

A man and a woman listed as missing were found. The woman, 40-year-old Tyrennise Mabry, died in the explosion.

The man was transported to UAB is said to be in critical condition.

Brooks says, "What was unique about it was the area that we found the victim in, was a spot less than two feet of clearance. There was another victim right next to him, which was a matter of inches that did not survive. So it, was, I would say, God's saving grace."

Three other adults were hospitalized. Four children under the age of eight were taken to Children's of Alabama. They were treated and released.


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