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Posted at 10:44 PM ET, 12/19/2010

Gas explosion destroys Chantilly house

By Martin Weil


An apparent gas explosion destroyed a house in western Fairfax County Sunday night, the fire department said.

The blast occurred about 9 p.m. at a house on Lees Corner Road in the Chantilly area, said Battalion Chief Chris Schaff of the Fairfax County fire and rescue service.
No one was in the house at the time, and no injuries were reported.

Schaff said a gas leak in the two-story house was ignited by something in the house, causing the explosion. The house was "taken down to the ground," and neighboring houses suffered minor damage, Schaff said.

He said the house was near the intersection with Pennsboro Drive The site is less than a mile south of Route 50 and a few miles south of Dulles International Airport.
Chantillyhomeppp.jpg
(Gerald Martineau/For the Post)

Chantillyhomeppp.jpg

(Gerald Martineau/For the Post)

By Martin Weil  | December 19, 2010; 10:44 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Virginia  
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Comments

I live near this house. The community is happy that the family was not home when this happened. We pray for the family that has lost their home and hope that they will find support from the community.

We are all also fearful for our own safety as we are not being given any informatin from the gas company if we are in danger.
There were gas company trucks digging in the neighrborhod today and they plan on digging in many other areas in our neighborhood.
I have three children at home and I am afraid to go to sleep tonight.

Posted by: soldya | December 19, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

It was my uncle's house. this is so crazy and tragic.

Posted by: Stephenitis | December 20, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

The Family had two sons one 4-5 years and another 10-12 years.

if you have any items that could help those kids or the parents or the family as a whole get through this freak event. please contact the fire dept for information on where to send it.

Posted by: Stephenitis | December 20, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

With regards to the safety of the other houses in the neighborhood. For an explosion such as that to happen, several code violations and safety devices would have to completely fail. Pilot lights have a thermocouple device that, in the absence of 1. the flame, and 2. an actual person to hold the valve in the pilot lighting position, Gas will not flow through the Device. The artificial odor in natural gas is so strong that its nearly impossible to not detect well before the explosion.

a catastrophic event such as this is very rare, intentional, or severely negligent.

Note; Don't assume anything, or make accusations until all the facts are in.I'm just saying that a few things have to go wrong, in just the right order, for this to happen.

Posted by: mdwbronco | December 20, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Maintenance workers nearby could have damaged an underground pipe which then spilled gas that leaked into the house. Then it would slowly fill the house, pooling at the bottom of the floor and rising like the water in a bathtub. Because it is moving slowly, not being pushed out of a pipe, it doesn't dissipate in the air. Then the gas finally fills until it reaches a pilot light in a furnace and the whole house explodes from the floor up.

Had there been anyone in the house, they would have been killed. The explosion happens so quickly that it has a thermobaric effect. It violently draws all the air out of the immediate area, and anyone inside will have their eyeballs pulled out of their sockets, and worse.

If a jury ever sees what could have happened to the people who live there, there'll be no stopping their rage.

Think big.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 20, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, the people who live nearby should not rest until there's clear evidence that their homes will also not be filled with leaking gas from the community gas line.

Posted by: blasmaic | December 20, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

My children and I dropped to our knees and prayed for the family and all those affected when we saw the smoke last night -- and were so relieved to hear from that no one was hurt. Please keep us updated as to how everyone in Brookfield (and beyond) can help.

Posted by: purelittleking | December 20, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

My children and I dropped to our knees and prayed for the family and all those affected when we saw the smoke last night -- and were so relieved to hear from that no one was hurt. Please keep us updated as to how everyone in Brookfield (and beyond) can help.

Posted by: purelittleking | December 20, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I was by this location earlier today. The street is still blocked off and Washington Gas people are everywhere - along with Fx County Fire - and the street is being dug up in front of the destroyed house.

All the opinions below are fine, but no one will know what happened until the facts (not opinions) are laid upon the table.

Let's just be thankful that the family who lives there was not injured.

Posted by: adjjones | December 20, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, thats right next to the gas pipeline. Hope they can find the cause quick to relieve worries of nearby residents. Prayers to the family affected by this tragedy. Glad no one was hurt!

Posted by: slydell | December 20, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

This was my uncles house. Luckily they went out to eat dinner with some family.but they came home to see this. If anyone can please give them some stuff as a donation. They had 2 sons, 1 son that is about 4-5 and the other is actually 13.

Posted by: rsn00b123 | December 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

This was my uncles house. Luckily they went out to eat dinner with some family.but they came home to see this. If anyone can please give them some stuff as a donation. They had 2 sons, 1 son that is about 4-5 and the other is actually 13.

Posted by: rsn00b123 | December 20, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

This was my uncles house. Luckily they went out to eat dinner with some family.but they came home to see this. If anyone can please give them some stuff as a donation. They had 2 sons, 1 son that is about 4-5 and the other is actually 13.

Posted by: rsn00b123 | December 20, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

If there's anyway my family and I can help please let us know - I'll be contacting the fire department to see where I can send any items for the family. I'm friends with some of the family members - I'm praying for everyone affected and that the family is able to find shelter and comfort during this time.

Everyone: I know money is tight right now, the economy isn't the best and we've all been buying Christmas presents for our loved ones - think about stretching your dollars just a little bit more this holiday season, even something as small as a Walmart gift card can go a LONG way to help this family get back on their feet. My thoughts and prayers are with them and everyone else affected by this scary event.

Posted by: bondgirl311 | December 20, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

This same house had a similar problem's with furnace and gas leak I think it was the spring of 1999 and the house was empty for 3-4 months while repairs were made it was condemned by the utility company. Someone needs to look at the records for that.

Posted by: lada2 | December 20, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

This same house had a similar problem's with furnace and gas leak I think it was the spring of 1999 and the house was empty for 3-4 months while repairs were made it was condemned by the utility company. Someone needs to look at the records for that.

Posted by: lada2 | December 20, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Before everyone freaks out, a standard home insurance policy provides living expenses for this family and it is usual to advance some money for immediate expenses while the fire department completes its investigation.
@blasmaic: go chase an ambulance. Are you a lawyer? What makes you think there is any actionable liability here? And juries don't get to award damages on what might have happened, sorry about your winning the lottery dreams. Be thankful no humans were hurt in this accident and the house can be re-built.

Posted by: GreybirdK1 | December 20, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

If anyone knows a lawyer that has dealt with a similar situation or litigated with a utility company before please contact the family. they are vietnamese and may be timid in pursuing action once the investigation comes to a conclusion.

Posted by: Stephenitis | December 20, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I recommend they leave the house as is and call it modern art. Kind of interesting ...

Wonder what Blake Gopnik might think?

Posted by: lilhornie | December 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I have had the strong odor of gas in front of my house for the last year (it smells all the time from near the curb line). I have called the gas company and the fire dept on at least 5 occasions as have my neighbors. They can't find any actual "problems", although they acknowledge the gas smell.
after the California incident I call more frequently. Hope they figure it our before I do....

Posted by: wyatt13401 | December 20, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

A CO detector might be a good idea.

Posted by: vmax02rider | December 20, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the Hillandale home explosion almost 10 years ago:

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-409232.html

No one answers were really found for that. How the heck can something like this happen?

Posted by: pdo3 | December 21, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that someone said that it is close to the gas pipeline, as they are referring to the Transcontinental Pipeline that runs a couple of thousand miles. The houses along Lee's Corner have the pipeline underground behind them in their neighbors backyards. What would be the true results of another loud explosion?

Posted by: griggsfred | December 21, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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