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Utility Reps Reassure Neighbors After House Explosion

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A natural gas leak is blamed for a home explosion in Castle Rock. (credit: CBS)

A natural gas leak is blamed for a home explosion in Castle Rock. (credit: CBS)

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – Officials in Castle Rock held a meeting in on Wednesday to reassure residents about safety protocols after a frightening explosion that destroyed a home.

Investigators said natural gas ignited by either the furnace or the water heater caused the explosion that destroyed the Martinez family’s home on Oct. 12.

“The way the explosion occurred, where it originated — all that points to natural gas,” Fire Chief Art Morales said on Wednesday.

Four children got out of the home safely with their mother with only a few small injuries. Their dad Jimmy Martinez, a lieutenant with Denver Police, wasn’t home at the time.

The former house on Sulfur Lane is now just a pile of rubble, and three other homes are uninhabitable. More than 100 neighbors went to Wednesday’s meeting in part to hear what’s being done to prevent more leaks.

“I think we’re all still kind of in shock,” said neighbor Denise Albert. “I’m still a little jumpy.”

Black Hills Energy, which provides service to the area and had representatives at the meeting, says there are no other gas issues in the area and that they are still looking into exactly what happened at the Martinez home.

“We checked dozens of homes and have not found any gas leaks on our pipeline or any of the neighboring or adjacent homes,” Black Hills spokesman Wes Ashton told CBS4.

The fire chief was among those at the meeting discussing what to do if you smell gas and how to spot a leak. He recommended that anyone who has concerns about their furnace or the hot water heater should have it checked by a licensed heating and air conditioning contractor.

On Wednesday Marbella Martinez, the grandmother of the children who escaped, spoke with CBS4 at the site of the blast and said their family is still rattled by what happened. They have gone through the debris to try to find possessions of value to them, but very little came out in one piece.

“You know, all these things can be replaced, but their lives can’t,” she said. “People that don’t believe in God should believe there’s some god because it was just a miracle they came out of there safe.”

If you would like to help the Martinez family a fund has been set up at the Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Credit Union. The family needs help in the short term while they work out an agreement with their insurance company.

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