One person was killed and at least three were injured in an early morning house explosion Friday in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle, Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said.
He confirmed the fatality to WTOV but did not immediately release names.
Jackson also told media outlets that a natural gas leak was reported just before the house blew up in the Hooverson Heights neighborhood just outside Follansbee.
A neighbor made the report, Jackson said, but the blast came so soon after the call that the gas company hadn’t even been alerted yet.
Six nearby homes were severely damaged, and some are now uninhabitable.
“As far as a natural gas explosion,” Jackson said, “this is as bad as I’ve ever seen.”
The power of the blast blew out a front door and shattered windows in a house across the street.
“I thought lightning had struck a house or a tree had fallen,” said Kim Stoneking, who lives about a mile away and ran to see what had happened. “It was too big to be a car wreck.”
Louie Headman said the explosion woke him and shook his house nearby.
“You could see the smoke from the other side of the hill,” he said.