A Westminster explosion forced a woman to hustle her 70-year-old mother to safety as a natural gas leak caused a nearby home to blow up, sending a shockwave of destruction across the neighborhood.
The incident happened Thursday when, authorities said, a natural gas leak inside a home triggered an explosion that rocked windows and shook houses across the neighborhood.
“I thought a plane had crashed, or it was a bomb, a terrorist,” said Monique Gallegos, who was in a nearby home with her 70-year-old mother. Gallegos acted quickly to get her mother, Arleen Gallegos, out of the house as windows rattled and items were blown from shelves.
The huge explosion in Westminster, a town north of Denver, Colorado, happened at close to 11:35 am. A fire department spokesperson said they received several 911 calls about the loud blast.
Debris from other homes, including pieces of shingles and splintered siding, were sent flying as neighbors fled to safety.
The Westminster explosion destroyed the home where it originated, and left the rest of the quiet cul-de-sac looking like “a war zone,” a firefighter who responded to the fire said.
Courtney VanMarter, one of the first Westminster firefighters on the scene, said that “truly there is not a whole lot left in this house. It’s quite shocking.”
In total close to 75 firefighters responded to the scene, which they said smelled strongly of gas. They evacuated several blocks as a precaution.
Amazingly, only two people suffered minor injuries from the Westminster explosion. One was a police officer who stepped on shattered glass on the scene and the other a utility worker on an unrelated call who was taken to a hospital for observation.
Original reports said that three people were missing after the Westminster explosion, but emergency crews were able to account for them. In all four houses were damaged, two extensively.
[Westminster explosion image via 7 News Denver]