FOLLANSBEE, W. Va. — The investigation into what caused an October explosion in Brooke County which left a teenager dead, three people hospitalized, and a house in splinters is moving slowly.
Assistant State Fire Marshal Mackey Ayersman tells MetroNews they feel certain a gas leak caused the Oct. 11 explosion of a house in Hooverson Heights, but pinpointing the source of the leak has been a more difficult proposition.
“We’ve been able to eliminate any exterior leak as the source,” Ayersman said. “We’ve been working with the DEP and Mountaineer Gas and find no indication of a leak outside. We think the leak was in the basement.”
A half hour before the explosion one of the family members told 911 they smelled gas. Members of the local volunteer fire department were searching the neighborhood for a leak when the blast touched off.
“The gas lines were all destroyed in the explosion, so it’s hard to pinpoint where the leak may have been,” said Ayersman. “There was no indication of any new work being done in the house on the gas lines or signs they were manipulated.”
However, Ayersman said so far they’ve been unable to talk to the family to answer questions about what they remember from the morning leading up to the explosion.
The blast killed 13-year-old Hannah Mozingo. Her father George, mother Tracy, and her sister were all hospitalized.
The house was equipped with a natural gas water heater and a gas furnace. However, it’s unclear if the supply lines leading to either of those appliances was the source of the leak.
“The lines are snapped in half and the damage is too much,” said Ayersman. “We may never know for sure.”